It's the biggest flurry on interest in new municipal broadband networks since the mid-2000's.
As 2017 begins, several Iowa communities are in various stages of evaluating whether or not to create a municipal fiber broadband network. Farthest along in the process is Vinton, which received 88% approval by voters in a November 2015 referendum. Farr Technologies of Mitchell, South Dakota has been hired to conduct a feasibility study in Vinton this winter and spring. Decorah has issued an RFP for a feasibility study, with the goal of hiring a firm and conducting their study before mid-summer. New Hampton and Maquoketa are preparing feasibility study RFP's following "Community Fiber Broadband Engagement and Education" projects (aka "pre-feasibility" in 2016. Charles City, which has also conducted a pre-feasibility study, will be considering its next steps over the next couple of months.
Just beginning the process is the western Iowa community of Adair. The community has scheduled a referendum for March 7th to ask voters for permission to establish a municipal telecommunications utility. City leaders are hoping to work with a neighboring telecom company, Casey Mutual Telephone, to bring broadband to the community. Adair's only provider options today are Windstream, wireless, and satellite as there is no cable provider in the town.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.