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Results of Central Iowa Broadband Internet Study Released

December 17, 2021

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Dec. 17, 2021) – The Greater Des Moines Partnership has released the results of the Central Iowa Broadband Internet Study produced by HR Green in partnership with Bâton Global, SmartSource Consulting and Kielkopf Advisory Services. The Study was initiated in early 2021 for 11 counties in the region with a goal to create a framework under which governments, the public and providers can align in new and innovative ways to create solutions to the digital divide present in Central Iowa.

Funding from the following public and private partners made the Broadband Internet Study possible: Adair County, Dallas County, Guthrie County, Jasper County, the Madison County Development Group, Marion County, the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Polk County, Poweshiek Iowa Development, Story County, Warren County, Alliant Energy, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Pella Rural Electric Cooperative and the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

The report provides the following insights:

  • There is an opportunity to improve broadband access and increase adoption by up to 19% of households (or approximately 181,500 people), which would create an estimated 20-year net present value of $1.25 billion to the 11-county region.
  • Federal and state grant funding is available to help providers further build out their networks, and the report identifies information at the census block-level to support grant applications.
  • There is opportunity for progressive broadband public policies to encourage development. Public entities that make deployment faster and less expensive to deploy for providers will see broader investment.
  • Only 18.5% of Iowa’s population has access to low-priced broadband of $60 per month or less. The report identifies strategies to help increase that percentage.
  • Some households have access to broadband but face barriers due to affordability, perceived lack of need or other reasons.
  • Statistics in the report show the disparity of broadband adoption based on socio-economic status and highlights how a lack of broadband access impacts and creates further disparity for education, healthcare and economic status.
  • The report provides information on current broadband use and future trends to support the need to install faster, higher bandwidth when deploying new service.

Several recommendations are proposed in the report, including:

  • Establish a sponsor organization to improve coordination and facilitation.
  • Counties and cities are recommended to explore progressive broadband policies.
  • Counties and private sector partners are encouraged to pursue grant opportunities.
  • Identify and develop effective adoption strategies for lower-income and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
  • Implement a regional broadband dashboard. The Partnership is in the process of building a dashboard that will go live in January 2022. Data in the dashboard will include satisfaction and speed test results from businesses and people surveyed for the study, data on the estimated cost of deployment, and more.

More than 4,500 residents and businesses participated in the Central Iowa Broadband Internet Study survey. The Survey results, along with other data collected and analyzed through this process, provide internet providers, government officials and communities with direction for short-term and long-term funding options and solutions.

Access the final report on The Partnership’s website.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.