It’s no secret that Iowa lags behind other states in broadband coverage and a new map amplifies that shortcoming.
The Iowa Department of Management Department of Management Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and Gov. Kim Reynolds released a new, improved map on Tuesday to visualize broadband coverage in Iowa and highlight which areas have the greatest need.
Fortunately, the federal government is offering grant money to fix broadband gaps across the country including here in Iowa.
It could cost a lot. Most of Iowa’s cities are covered, and even small towns have high-speed internet. But across Iowa, there are a lot of rural areas still stuck with low speeds.
Iowa ranks 26 in the country for internet coverage, speed, and availability according to BroadbandNow.com,a data company that researches broadband in America.
HighSpeedInternet.com, which monitors internet service providers in the US, puts Iowa as the 33rd most connected state.
Broadband coverage is fairly even in the state, but the new map shows individual addresses and indicates whether an area would be eligible for future spending from federal grant monies. Older maps showed more generalized areas.
White squares indicate locations that are likely ineligible for grants and the blue dots indicate locations likely to be eligible.
Eligibility applies to areas with speeds slower than 100 Mbps for uploads and 20 Mbps for downloads.
The data comes from the FCC and/or by contractors or third parties.
Iowans also have 30 days to look at the map of addresses and submit corrections if the judgment for their address is incorrect. That process is explained here.
Generally, the standard for fast internet is 100 Mbps because it can support more activity at the same time, so households with multiple people on devices wouldn’t have interrupted service.
The FCC requires broadband internet have a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps.
Eligibility is based on speed, technology type, and previous incentives. But the categorization isn’t final. The OCIO said the map should be read as potential eligibility. The upcoming Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment program will use FCC maps for reference, but this map could be used for reference by the FCC.
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