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Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program

Grants to Iowa Private Sector Carriers, School Districts, Local
Governments, and Utilities to Provide High-Speed Internet Service

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State of Iowa - Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)

Deadline Date:

02/25/21 5:00 PM CST


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Grants to Iowa private sector carriers, school districts, local governments, and utilities in eligible locations to provide high-speed internet service to local residents. Funding is intended to mitigate internet access concerns exacerbated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This Empower Rural Iowa, Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will benefit residents and businesses as the need for distance learning, telework, telehealth, and other remote services continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Targeted Service Areas are areas within which, as of July 31, 2020, either no Communications Service Provider Facilitated at least 25/3 Broadband, or otherwise any area that is materially underserved or without meaningfully available Broadband

The purpose of this NOFA is to solicit Applications from Responsible Applicants for the build out of Broadband Infrastructure Projects that will provide the greatest overall impact in furthering telework, telehealth, distance learning, and other remote services to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Targeted Service Areas of the State. Applications must provide a demonstrable nexus to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a nexus to furthering telework, telehealth, distance learning, and other remote services. 

Consistent with the foregoing, the Office is seeking Proposals from Responsible Applicants to provide or incentivize expansion of a minimum of 25/3 Broadband to Targeted Service Areas in the State of Iowa. Provided there is a demonstrable nexus to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a nexus to furthering telework, telehealth, distance learning, and other remote services, Applicant’s proposals may accomplish this by reducing or eliminating Targeted Service Areas through the installation of Broadband Infrastructure that Facilitates Broadband service at speeds equal to at least 25/3 Broadband, 50/5 Broadband, or speeds equal to or greater than 100/100 Broadband. 

Allowable Expenditures can be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 185366

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The Office may, in its sole discretion, Award the entire amount available under this NOFA to a single Applicant, or to multiple Applicants.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed as soon as possible, however 100% of the project must be completed by no later than December 1, 2021.

Expenses must be incurred prior to the Project Completion Date, but no later than December 1, 2021

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility Requirements. Applicants/Projects must meet each of the following eligibility requirements in order to be considered:
1.4.1. Persons eligible to submit Applications in accordance with this NOFA include any Communications Service Provider as defined by Iowa Code chapter 8B, including but not limited to private sector carriers, local governments, school districts, utilities, and other entities that provide or intend to provide Broadband service.
1.4.2. Projects may only consist of activities resulting in the delivery of Broadband within the geographic boundaries of the State of Iowa.
1.4.3. Projects must Facilitate or provide at least 25/3 Broadband service.
1.4.4. Projects that will Facilitate Broadband service above the minimum of 25/3 Broadband may be eligible for a greater proportion of funds in relation to their Total Project Costs. See Section 1.5.2 (Total Project Costs).
1.4.5. Projects must Facilitate Broadband Service that Facilitates 25/3 Broadband or faster to Targeted Service Areas located within the State of Iowa.
1.4.6. Projects must directly further telework, telehealth, distance learning, and other remote services in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
1.4.7. Proposed Projects must be shovel-ready, meaning both that the Project has NOT yet commenced into active buildout phases, but is ready for rapid deployment consistent with the following:
1.4.8. Persons submitting Applications must be the entity that will be performing the proposed work, or an entity with a substantial ownership interest in the entity that will be performing the proposed work. While Applicants may hire or work with consulting firms to prepare their Applications, an Application may not be presented or framed as work to be performed by a consulting firm and may not be signed by a representative of the consulting firm. Instead, the Application must be presented and framed as work to be performed by an appropriate Applicant and signed by an Authorized Official of Applicant’s.
1.4.9. The proposed technology must have demonstrable efficacy and broad consumer acceptance in the market including consistent and reliable Broadband service at or above the established speed thresholds and with minimal latency for the end user sufficient to support interactive applications (E.g., video conferencing).

Disallowable Expenditures can be found at

Pre-Application Information:

Grant Timeline
- NOFA Issued: 1/19/2021
- Written Questions Due By: 1/28/2021
- Responses Posted By: 2/2/2021
- Application Acceptance Window Opens: 2/4/2021
- Application Acceptance Window Closes/Applications Due: 2/25/2021, 5:00 PM CST
- Technical Review/Quantitative Scoring Begins: 3/1/2021
- Technical Review/Quantitative Scoring Ends: 3/5/2021
- Applications and Quantitative Scoring Submitted to members of Evaluation Committee: 3/8/2021
- Final Agency Decision(s)/Anticipated Notice of Intent to Award Issued: 3/15/2021
- Contracting Process Begins: 3/22/2021

Registration. If not already registered, each user will complete the registration process. Follow the steps outlined in the “Iowa Grants Registration and Application Instructions,” labeled “Exhibit I” and posted under the “Attachment” section of the Funding Opportunity within Iowa Grants. New Users should allow at least a few days for new registrations to be processed.

Written Questions and Responses. Questions regarding the scope, interpretation, application, or contents of this NOFA must be raised as part of the formal Written Question and Response process set forth herein. While the Office will make available administrative support throughout the application process to Applicants, only written communications made in response to questions submitted through this process shall be binding on the Office.

An Applicant may submit one or more Applications for different Projects.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


Written questions related to this NOFA must be submitted to the Office by email to

Office of the Chief Information Officer
200 E. Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 281-5503

Support Desk:
(515) 281-5703 or (800) 532-1174

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Iowa

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