About a third of Iowa’s 99 counties still are “broadband deserts” where high-speed internet is seldom offered and, for many Iowans, unaffordable, Reynolds said. Iowa also has the second-lowest broadband speeds in the country.
Lawmakers predict big investment to bridge high-speed internet gaps | Business Monthly
Her goal, he said, is for every part of Iowa to have affordable, high-speed broadband by 2025.
While the dearth of high-speed broadband in many places in Iowa has been a concern of business and agriculture for years, the pandemic pushed the issue to the fore over the last year as schools, workplaces and hospitals have relied on the internet like never before for virtual learning, work from home and telemedicine.
John Wills, R-Spirit Lake, the third-ranking House Republican, said a final broadband plan will probably be “at or near” $450 million.
“I think that it is imperative that we have this build-out so that Iowa stays and is competitive,” Wills said.
Like Grassley, Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, agreed that after the Revenue Estimating Conference meets “we’ll have a much better sense of where we are. We’ll know kind of what kind of budget we have to work with.”
The panel will meet March 19 to provide an update on state revenues, which have dipped by about 2% over the past year, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.