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Gov. Reynolds Requests $20 Million for Rural Iowa Broadband Infrastructure

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- During the Condition of the State address, Governor Kim Reynolds said she wants to continue to devote Iowa dollars to expanding internet access to all areas of the state.

“We have come a long way already. U.S. News & World Report says, 'the Hawkeye State leads the nation in efforts to bring ultra-fast internet access to every city block and every rural acre.' But there’s still more to do. To ensure that every part of Iowa has the same opportunity, I am requesting $20 million, split over two years, for broadband infrastructure. This funding will accelerate expansion and leverage an additional $120 million in private investment for high-speed internet,” Gov. Reynolds said.

The Executive Director of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Lynn Olberding said internet access has become just as important as the roads and buildings that surround us.

“Some of the more rural areas in the state of Iowa need the same access that the metropolitan areas and the areas like Marshalltown have. It’s not only important for schools, for health care, but agriculture. There’s a lot of things that have changed in the agricultural industry that high speed internet is incredibly important for our farmers. So it’s important across the state of Iowa,” Olberding said.

Over the last few years, more rural areas, such as Marshalltown, now have increased access to high speed internet.

“I remember the first internet connection I ever had was when I was 14 or 15. We had Prodigy at home, and then we had AOL, and then Mediacom cable eventually. So it’s changed a lot. It came from just dial-up and all the way to fiber now,” Marshalltown Company Director of IT Jeff Schneider said.

He said the fastest internet connection they can get is essential to their growing business.

“We are a very advanced manufacturer and in order to be productive and competitive in the global landscape we need very advanced software systems,” Schneider said.

Those software systems have a lot of data that is critical to making masonry tools that they send all over the world.

“We’re a 129-year-old company, but we are 22nd century thinking. We are really working on E-Commerce initiatives and that’s really important to have a good reliable internet connection,” Schneider said.

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