CARES Act Funding to Expand Iowa’s Broadband Infrastructure
There’s good news in Iowa this week. The state of Iowa will make $50 million available from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Coronavirus Relief Fund. This addresses the increased need for internet connectivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 20, the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) opened an application window for Notice of Funding Availability #003. Information about this opportunity has been posted on the OCIO website.
This CARES Act funding does not include any state funds. The application window seeks shovel-ready projects for broadband infrastructure spending through December 30 of this year. As a result, the application window closes quickly, on August 5, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
Do you have too little time to apply or complete the project? Don’t worry—there are other federal and state broadband expansion funding opportunities we’ll see come available in the near future, including the following.
The OCIO is currently developing another Iowa broadband grant program with funds the Iowa Legislature could appropriate for fiscal year 2021. This grant program will distribute state funding to eligible communication service providers that expand access to broadband services in the state of Iowa through infrastructure buildout. The OCIO anticipates this grant opportunity will be issued in fall 2020.
Rural Iowa companies that have submitted their FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) short-form applications also will have a chance to bid on areas in rural Iowa where broadband needs are greatest. The CARES Act funding may affect the areas where RDOF support would be available, so consider carefully which opportunity you wish to pursue.
In addition, we may see another round of USDA ReConnect broadband grants and loans for rural areas as the year ends.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact your BKD Trusted Advisor™ or submit the Contact Us form below.