Des Moines, IA – Governor Chet Culver today announced the launch of Iowa’s first statewide broadband availability map. The web-based map is fully interactive and puts powerful tools and information directly into the hands of anyone interested in improving the technological landscape in Iowa.
“This newly completed map paves the way for technology to follow, which will create new jobs, increase Iowa’s economic competitiveness, and deliver services that have been previously unavailable to rural areas of the state,” Governor Culver said. “Iowa has made great strides in spreading broadband across the state. In fact, 177 broadband providers offered data showing that the vast majority of our citizens can access broadband. However, only 66 percent of residents report using broadband at home. Through this effort we will continue the progress of getting our citizens online and accessing the unlimited benefits associated with broadband.”
Much like the revolutionary impact of harnessing electricity or the telephone, high-speed Internet connection is Iowa’s lifeline to future prosperity. The development of Iowa’s map is funded by a federal stimulus grant and is guided by the Connect Iowa initiative, in partnership with the Iowa Utilities Board. Connect Iowa is a subsidiary of the national nonprofit Connected Nation and is Iowa’s designated entity under the grant award.
Full access to Iowa’s interactive map is available now through the Connect Iowa website at http://www.connectiowa.org/.
“The completed Iowa state map shows what broadband services are currently available down to the Census Block level. Connect Iowa, in collaboration with the state’s broadband providers, will update the map on a routine basis to reflect real-time broadband availability so that policy makers, Internet providers, and the general public can use the maps to make informed decisions about broadband investment and expansion,” explains Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Iowa’s parent company, Connected Nation. “The goal of our nonprofit organization is to expand broadband access to areas where it doesn’t exist and improve the quality of service in areas that are already served. Iowa’s newly completed map is the first major step in this process.”
Iowa’s BroadbandStat map will be explained in detail Tuesday, June 22, 2010 by Connect Iowa staff. The public demonstration will take place via webinar at 10 a.m. CDT. Media, broadband providers, and the general public are invited to attend by signing up through the Connect Iowa website, http://www.connectiowa.org/.
All Iowa residents are encouraged to visit http://www.connectiowa.org/ to join in this important initiative and offer feedback. The website gives residents a one-stop-shopping portal where they can find providers at their address, check their current Internet speeds, request broadband service in their area, and share stories of how high-speed Internet has impacted their lives.
Connect Iowa is funded through a $2.2 million award by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to launch the initiative in the state and carry out the work over a five-year period. Under the NTIA State Broadband Data and Development grant program, Connect Iowa is charged with creating statewide awareness, mapping, and maintaining the state broadband inventory for two years, and conduct planning efforts for a period of five years. These funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. NTIA, as required by the ARRA, will make a national broadband map publicly available by Feb. 17, 2011.
By increasing broadband access and use across the state, Iowa is facing a bright future, with greater opportunities, and a new throughway to economic empowerment.
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