Business

CenturyLink announces expanded broadband in rural Iowa

FILE PHOTO: Employees of Nagle Signs in Waterloo install a CenturyLink sign Friday on a building formerly used by Qwest Communications Corp. in downtown Cedar Rapids.
FILE PHOTO: Employees of Nagle Signs in Waterloo install a CenturyLink sign Friday on a building formerly used by Qwest Communications Corp. in downtown Cedar Rapids.

CenturyLink has announced the completion of new broadband to about 21,000 rural Iowa homes and businesses.

The company last week announced the expanded broadband services, which reach more than 30 Iowa communities, including Muscatine, Winterset, Independence and Indianola.

“We know broadband brings many benefits to communities, including better access to jobs, education and health care services,” Tim White, CenturyLink vice president of operations, said in a news release. “That’s why we’ve worked hard to expand broadband to more homes and businesses in our smaller, more rural U.S. markets.”

The expanded broadband was funded through the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund.

CenturyLink receives about $17 million a year over the course of the fund’s six-year period, said Matt Villarreal, communications specialist with CenturyLink.

CenturyLink’s goal is to bring download speeds of at least 10 Mbps to about 34,000 locations in blocks designated by the FCC.

The FCC has established 25 megabits per second download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds as the benchmark for high-speed internet or “advanced broadband.”

The level of connectivity Iowans have, especially rural residents, varies depending on the source.

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A U.S. News & World Report article last year named Iowa the best state in the country, citing a number of factors, including access to health care, economic opportunity and infrastructure.

Within the infrastructure category, the report states that 99.9 percent of Iowa households have access to broadband speeds of 25 Mbps or faster — ranking Iowa first in the nation.

In addition, the FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report found that 92.3 percent of the nation’s residents had access to 25/3 (download/upload speeds) in 2016. In Iowa that year, 90.5 percent of residents had access to that level of broadband.

Meanwhile, BroadbandNow, an organization that collects and analyzes internet provider coverage and availability, found 88 percent of Iowans have access to wired broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps or faster, according to November data. With an average statewide speed of 29.8 Mbps, Iowa ranks 33rd in the nation in connectivity.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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