The Iowa Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) announced the results last week of the process whereby communities in Iowa self-identified areas in need of broadband network investment. Marion County's region was ranked 16.
The OCIO received a total of 99 applications during the Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) application window. Ninety six of the applications were ranked in order of priority, with three applications not ranked because all of their addresses were included in another ranked application.
The intention of the ITQ was to allow, for the first time, communities to have a say in where the State of Iowa should invest broadband grant funding to cover unserved and underserved areas. In prior rounds of state broadband grants, the State relied on providers to identify the eligible areas they were interested in serving.
Each Broadband Intervention Zone is expected to receive some sort of priority for funding in the next round of the Iowa Broadband Grant program, NOFA 8. It isn't clear if provider applications in those zones will receive additional points on the scoring matrix, a higher percentage of grant support, or some combination. While the OCIO has not released details on the formula or the timing, it is expected that NOFA 8, using funds from the state's Capital Projects Fund from the US Department of Treasury. Iowa's allocation under that program was $152.2 million.