Minburn Communications has until July 28, 2021 to apply for a portion of the $97.5 million funds from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program to expand fiber broadband access to unserved and underserved Iowans in our area. To gather data for the application and meet this tight deadline, Minburn Communications is asking area residents and businesses to fill out the Fiber Interest Form no later than July 15, 2021.
CEO Debra Lucht said, “Minburn Communications understands the vital importance of consistent and reliable high-speed internet service to the lives and livelihoods of Iowans. That’s why we’re seeking funds from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program to extend our fiber networks into underserved or unserved locations in our area.”
On July 1, the OCIO released Version 4 of the statewide broadband map. This data reveals questionable reporting. Some OCIO Targeted Service Areas across rural Iowa, including Dallas County, show areas that do not qualify for funding based on current availability of service. Other providers claim they can deliver connection speeds of 100/50 Mbps in areas we know are not served. Many residents and businesses located in these areas have inquired about connecting to Minburn Communications’ broadband internet because other providers cannot deliver any type of service – reliable or otherwise.
Lucht continues, “Through third-party engineering reports, Minburn Communications developed our own map which more accurately identifies areas surrounding Minburn, Woodward, Perry, Bouton, Dallas Center, and rural North Adel as having insufficient to no connections. Per the OCIO map, these are the same areas reported as served and do not qualify for funding from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program.”
“Before July 20, Minburn Communications will be challenging the claims made to the OCIO. Our intent is to advocate on behalf of those residents and business so they, too, can have access to a future-ready, reliable internet connection capable of delivering speeds well over 100/100. Residential consumers can also challenge the OCIO.”
Minburn Communications is seeking consumer input to help strengthen our position.
Here’s how you can help:
Lucht added, “The more data Minburn Communications collects about how many consumers have expressed a need for fiber broadband internet, the stronger our position will be for selection by the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program. If awarded the support funding, it would enable us to consider expanding our network farther into the more remote locations. However, we need the data to quantify customer demand. Qualifying Targeted Service Areas with the most interest forms submitted will move their neighborhood to the top of the list for a possible fiber buildout.”
Filling out the Interest Form takes just a few minutes, and there’s no obligation to sign up for fiber services. The potential benefit to helping challenge the reports and secure funding is to increase chances of gaining a new option in internet service that will be much faster and more consistently reliable than what is available today.
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