New grants, tax policies and uniform rules aim to expand broadband

Iowa and Indiana are moving ahead with a mix of new programs and tax policies designed to expand broadband development in the state’s rural areas. In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad made his “Connect Every Acre” proposal a top priority this past legislative session. With passage of HF 655, the state is establishing a grant program for service providers that install broadband in areas that connect farms, schools and communities.

The equipment used in these targeted service areas will be fully exempt from property taxes for 10 years, The Des Moines Register reports. The new law also establishes uniform rules that will determine how local governments manage the siting of cell phone towers. Indiana’s HB 1318, signed into law earlier this year, also seeks to streamline the siting of wireless facilities, and a second new law (HB 1101) gives local governments the opportunity to be certified as “broadband ready.” To receive this classification, they must have certain procedures and rules in place to review broadband projects.

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature created the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. Eligible applicants include businesses, political subdivisions, nonprofit groups and cooperatives. A total of $10.6 million in grants will be available this year.
Stateline Midwest: July/August 20153.49 MB