Coronavirus exposes Iowa’s broadband weaknesses

Coronavirus exposes Iowa’s broadband weaknesses

The COVID-19 pandemic that is forcing employees to work from home and school children to seek online instruction is shining a bright light on Iowa’s broadband challenges and possibly spurring some accelerated action to address it.

State legislators already were moving bills to help finance incremental broadband expansion in underserved and unserved areas — especially in rural Iowa — and make other improvements. But because of efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, legislators suspended their 2020 session until April.

Sponsors of the bills say it’s unclear whether they’ll bump up the current effort when they eventually are able to reconvene at the Statehouse. But they expect that the “new normal” on the other side of the global pandemic could create a momentum to bring internet statewide, much like the electrification of Iowa in the 1930s through rural electric cooperatives.

Read the full article on the Sioux City Journal website.

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