MORE WORK ON BROADBAND

Rod Boshart
Published: January 30 2014 | 3:38 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:55 am in
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Lawmakers said more work needs to be done on a bill to expand broadband access in the state before it gets out of its subcommittee. House Study Bill 515 is the legislation that would enact Gov. Terry Branstad’s broadband initiative in the state. The bill provides grants to companies that want to build or upgrade existing systems in rural areas to 50 megabits per second and to open up the state-owned Iowa Communications Network, or ICN, to private customers. A House subcommittee that took up the Thursday decided to hold off on a vote until next week. “There’s going to be an amendment at the committee level,” said Rep. Peter Cowine, R-West Des Moines. “People are really supportive of the idea, but this was kind of a first draft and we want to see how to improve it.” He added a concern for some legislators is opening up the ICN to private businesses. “There are some strong feelings on how we do it,” he said. “That’s the big concern, for somebody who’s already made the investment does opening this ICN up give the others an unfair advantage.” Michael Sadler, a lobbyist for CenturyLink said that was his main concern on the bill. “We want to continue talking about the ICN leasing aspect so that it is written tight enough that we feel protected and secure,” he said.

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