A lot of Iowa broadband providers are counting down the hours until the State of Iowa releases its new maps showing areas eligible for funding under the Iowa Broadband Grant Program. The Iowa OCIO, which administers the program, says the maps will be released on its website sometime on July 1st.
The rules for the next round of broadband grant funding in Iowa (NOFA #006) are already available for review. The new maps will reflect the tiered eligibility that was created by House File 848, passed by the Iowa Legislature this spring and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds. Grant funds will be available for up to 75% of project costs in Tier 1 Targeted Service Areas (TSA's), defined as areas without available internet of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Tier 2 areas are defined as those with speeds of 25-50 Mbps download (no upload requirement), and Tier 3 areas are ones with speeds of 50-80 Mbps.
A total of $97,500,000 is available for awards during this round. 20% of the funds are reserved for areas that are considered "difficult to serve" (areas below 25x3, or Tier 1) and the remaining 80% will be available for Tiers 1-3.
The state's prior TSA map, used in the first 5 rounds of grants, only shows areas that were considered unserved under the 25x3 metric, so the new maps will have more areas available for funding.
One interesting fact pointed out by the office during a webinar on June 17th is that the maps will NOT carve out areas that were awarded RDOF funding but that have not been built. So even if an area received RDOF funding (such as large areas of Iowa won by LTD Broadband and AMG), it will still be eligible under this grant round.
The application window for NOFA #006 will also open on July 1st, and operators interested in participating will only have until 5pm on July 28th to submit. That's 4 weeks to identify areas you're interested in, come up with a project cost estimate, and fill out the OCIO's various exhibits as part of the application.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.