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.
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