One obstacle facing municipal broadband operators in Iowa is the inability for joint action agencies formed under Iowa Code Chapter 28E to jointly finance projects. That barrier could be relieved if a bill introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives advances.
HSB 128 would add one sentence to Iowa Code Chapter 28F (the section that provides financing authority for 28E entities), "works or facilities useful for the operation of a telecommunications system or the provision of telecommunications services." The bill was introduced on January 25th and referred to the House Information Technology Committee. A subcommittee consisting of Representatives Dustin Hite (R-District 79), Shannon Latham (R-District 54), and Sharon Sue Steckman (D-District 53) will initially consider the bill.
28F already allows joint financing for solid waste, natural gas, and electric projects. Several years ago a group of Iowa communities considered the creation of a jointly owned-and-operated fiber network to connect their networks to each other, but the deal did not materialize due in part to the lack of joint financing authority.
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June 16, 2021
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