Iowa OCIO will distribute up to $200 million in federally-sourced funds through the next round of the Iowa Broadband Grant Program.
After announcing $97.5 million in awards to 39 recipients just weeks ago, the Iowa Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) this week says another $200 million is coming in the next round of funding, NOFA007.
Unlike NOFA006, which used money allocated by the Iowa Legislature from the state's budget, NOFA007 funds are flowing from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress earlier this year and signed by President Biden. Under ARPA, states, counties, and municipalities were given allocations based on population. One approved use for these funds was broadband infrastructure. Governor Kim Reynolds directed that a total of $200 million from the state's allocation go into the new NOFA announced this week.
The timeline for NOFA007 is shown below:
From an initial review of the program rules, it appears that the funding will be targeted exclusively to areas without 25x3 access. That's the same criteria as "Tier 1" areas on version 4 of the Iowa Broadband Availability Map. The reason for targeting these areas is simple - that's what the ARPA legislation allows for. The OCIO is currently revising the Iowa map to include a new layer showing areas that will be eligible for NOFA007. It is expected that the new map will remove the areas where funding was just awarded under NOFA006.
Two great events coming next week...there's still time to register and participate in the disucssion. We'll see you there!
Two new provider members joined the CBAN family this week!
Mahaska Communications Group (MCG) is based in Oskaloosa, Iowa and provides fiber-to-the-home in Oskaloosa. MCG is a subsidiary of Musco Lighting, also headquartered in Oskaloosa. In addition to its hometown, Oskaloosa has expanded its footprint to provide services in Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa, New Sharon, Sigourney, and several rural areas. MCG is currently building its network out in Grinnell and has announced plans to serve Ottumwa and Newton in the next several years.
Casey Mutual Telephone is based in Casey, Iowa but has been steadily growing its footprint to bring fiber to underserved rural areas and communities in west central Iowa. Casey Mutual has several fiber projects underway, including in Adair, and was the recipient of $2.6 million from NOFA006 of the Iowa Broadband Grant program for rural fiber builds in Adair, Audubon, Cass, and Guthrie County.
CBAN salutes community-focused providers like MCG and Casey Mutual for bringing better broadband to more Americans. If our nation's broadband gaps are to be filled and close the digital divide, it's companies like theirs that will do the job.
If you are part of a forward-looking community-focused broadband provider (independent telecommunications company, municipal utility, or cooperative), we'd love to have you as part of the CBAN family, which now has over 110 members. Provider Membership is FREE...visit our membership web page to find out more.
Mediacom was a successful bidder for CBRS radio spectrum in states across its cable system footprint. Some details are starting to emerge about what they plan to do with that spectrum.
As reported in Light Reading, Mediacom has six towners activated in six states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota), utilizing fixed wireless products from Casa Systems and Ericsson.
Mediacom Bolt is the brand name for this new fixed wireless product. As shown on their website, the company is marketing three tiers of service (25x3, 50x5, and 100x10 or 20 depending on location). The company is accepting pre-registrations now, but is not revealing exactly where and when its service will be available.
The CBAN family continues to grow! This week we're welcoming two new members, bringing our total membership to 110.
The City of Camanche, Iowa is our newest Community Member. Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa just downstream from Clinton, Camanche (pop. 4,500) was the first county seat of Clinton County before it was moved first to DeWitt and later to Clinton. Community leaders in Camanche are beginning efforts to explore a municipal broadband utility and say they hope their CBAN membership will allow them to connect with other communities looking for better broadband solutions.
Our newest Provider Member is Mahaska Communications Group, or MCG. MCG is a division of Musco Lighting based in Oskaloosa. MCG came about when Musco leadership became frustrated by broadband services available in their home town. So, they created MCG and built fiber-to-the-home throughout the community. MCG has since expended their fiber footprint to several other areas, most recently in Newton. They are also planning to build fiber in Ottumwa, Iowa after being selected by a local broadband committee through an RFP process.
All of at CBAN are excited to have Camanche and MCG join us!
We are looking forward to the IAMU Broadband Conference on October 20-21, 2021 at the Stoney Creek Hotel in Johnston, Iowa. We hope you are too! BUT...if you are planning to attend and you haven't reserved a hotel room, you need to act very soon to save yourself some money.
The IAMU room block rate is $94.00 per night. When the hotel block expires on September 30th at 5pm, that rate will go up to $133.00 per night. We strongly encourage attendees to call Stoney Creek Hotel at (515) 334-9000 directly to reserve your room. DO NOT call the 800 number that was referenced earlier...that goes to a call center for the hotel's ownership group and they may have a hard time figuring out the block rate (as David Fridley from FARR Technologies learned the hard way...we owe him a beer for discovering the bug in the system!).
Of course, you also need to register for the IAMU Broadband Conference as well. We strongly encourage you to do that soon as well, as our great vendor community would like to know who to expect at the show. CLICK HERE to go to the attendee registration page at the IAMU website.
Exhibit Spaces Still Available!!!
If you are a company that markets products and services to the municipal broadband space, we'd love to have you be a part of the IAMU Broadband Conference! And there is still room on our trade show floor for you tabletop display! CLICK HERE to register as a sponsor or exhibitor...we'd love to have you there.
P.S. - Your competitors may already be registered...check out the growing. list HERE.
IAMU Broadband Conference Presenting Sponsor
Mediacom, which is suing the City of West Des Moines over the city's $50 million conduit project, is now talking settlement with the City.
As outlined in an article at Cablefax.com, extensions on court actions and FCC comments were both extended at the request of the parties. West Des Moines currently has a deal with Google Fiber to be the exclusive user of the city-owned conduit network for six months after completion. That exclusivity period was originally 18 months but was shortened after the Mediacom lawsuit was filed.
CBAN is proud to welcome a new Associate Member, ETI Software Solutions, to our growing network!
ETI Software (www.etisoftware.com) has been a staple in the broadband industry, providing OSS and BSS solutions for nearly 30 years. Adapting to new technologies is a key differentiator of ETI Software; regardless of the mix of network topographies, ETI’s broadband service management software provides a single point of control, enabling solutions that deliver new insights and more personalized customer engagements spanning the full subscriber lifecycle. ETI’s solutions help broadband providers simplify device and application integration, subscriber and service activation to reduce costs, improve customer experiences and roll out next-generation services faster and easier. ETI’s mission is to offer enterprise-level capabilities to providers of all sizes to bridge the digital divide and prioritize digital equality.
ETI Software is proud to be a member of CBAN and invites you to learn more at etisoftware.com.
The CBAN community continues to grow! We'd like to welcome Spectrum Planners as a new associate member of CBAN!
Spectrum Planning, Inc. provides planning innovation, field engineering, system designs and innovative mapping services. An extensive history of successful implementation and execution coupled with their collaborative and customizable approach can help you exceed the expectations of your customers.
The continued education and professional experience of Spectrum Planning's staff provides you with the resources you need to complete any successful project.
Let Spectrum Planning put their combined 174 + years of experience to work for you today.
The voters of Hawarden, Iowa have spoken - one of Iowa's first municipal telecommunications utilities will remain in the hands of citizens.
A referendum was held yesterday to approve the sale of HiTec, the city telecommunications utility, to Premiere Communications of Sioux Center. Unofficial results released by the Sioux County Auditors Office show that just 39.3% of the voters approved of the sale, well short of the simple majority needed to move forward.
City leadership in Hawarden had soured on continuing to run HiTec which was among the first Iowa municipal telecoms and the first to provide telephone service. They even advocated for a change in state law that allowed them to obtain only one appraisal for the hybrid fiber-coaxial network.
The City had received two bids for the purchase, if authorized by voters. Long Lines, the company that Hawarden has used for an operating partner since its launch, bid $3.15 million for the network. Premiere, which already competes with HiTEC in Hawarden, bid $2.75 million.
Patty Anderson, the former Hawarden Telecommunications Manager during the 1990's, wrote an empassioned letter to the editor of the Hawarden Independent/Ireton Examiner in advance of the vote.
If HiTec is sold, you will never get it back. You will be left with one company to rely on forever. DON’T APPROVE THE SALE OF HITEC — VOTE NO SEPTEMBER 14! -- Patty Anderson, former HiTec Telecommunications Manager
Hawarden is not the only Iowa municipal facing the threat of dissolution. A small cadre of critics in Harlan are forcing a vote authorizing the sale of that community's municipal fiber-to-the-home network in November.
The Harlan ballot issue reads as follows: “Should the Board of Trustees of Harlan Municipal Utilities, City of Harlan, in the County of Shelby, State of Iowa, be authorized to discontinue and dispose of the municipally-owned communications utility by sale?” Even if that referendum receives the requisite 50% it does not mandate a sale, and HMU Board members have indicated no interest in removing the network from public ownership.
Lunch & Learn
June 16, 2021
State Broadband Grant Programs
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.