Can’t connect? Take the Central Iowa Broadband Survey

Workers from Michels Corp. lay high-speed fiber optic cable in this 2015 file photo.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Greater Des Moines Partnership has extended the submission period for the Central Iowa Broadband Internet Survey to Friday, May 14. The extension was implemented in order to obtain the best response rate possible.

The Broadband Internet Survey will help create a clear picture of consumers’ experience with broadband internet service across the region and help identify areas that do not currently meet consumer needs and expectations.

“If you would take a moment and complete the survey it would be greatly appreciated,” said Perry Community and Economic Development Director Mike Fastenau said.  “Unfortunately, as of today we are woefully lacking in the number of surveys completed from Perry. Without a sufficient number of responses, we are in danger of not adequately identifying areas within the community that lack broadband access.”

Fastenau said a Spanish version of the survey is also available online, and he shared a flyer with information in Spanish.

“Please help to ensure that Perry and surrounding area is well represented in identify broadband needs in the community and region,” Fastenau said.

Residents and businesses in the following counties are encouraged to take the survey: Adair, Dallas, Guthrie, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story and Warren. The survey is available in several languages. There are two separate survey links at one for residential households and one for businesses.

Additionally, residents are encouraged to participate in a series of online public forums on issues affecting broadband access and adoption in the region. The goal of the forums is to hear directly from residents about how broadband has impacted their lives in four vital areas: rural broadband, remote learning, remote work and remote health care.

Each forum will feature a panel of individuals with a background and knowledge in the topic area of the session. Anyone with an interest in any of the topics is invited to participate on Zoom by asking questions or sharing their experiences.

Input from the public forums and the Central Iowa Broadband Internet Survey will help guide solutions for improved internet in the region.

The Rural Broadband Experience
Thursday, May 6 at Noon
While some rural residents enjoy excellent broadband, others struggle to connect. This session will explore why there are broadband challenges in rural areas and discuss ways to solve those challenges.

The Challenges of Learning from Home
Thursday, May 6 at 4 p.m.
During the past year, many students were forced to learn remotely. In some cases, student connectivity has been impacted by internet availability, reliability and affordability. This session will explore how these issues have impacted learning, discuss some of the ways parents and students have coped with these limitations, and discuss how filling the region’s broadband gaps can help remote learning into the future.

Getting Care from Anywhere — Telehealth in Central Iowa
Monday, May 10 at 2 p.m.
For many people, their first experience with telehealth was during the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person access to health care was somewhat limited. But telehealth is here to stay as it lowers costs and improves access for patients. This session will explore how telehealth is impacting the lives of persons in the area and discuss how it will continue to evolve.

Remote Work Challenges and Opportunities
Tuesday, May 11 at 10 a.m.
While COVID-19 introduced many to remote work for the first time, others have been working from home for years. This session will explore the impact of broadband connectivity on the ability to work remotely. Presenters will discuss how remote work opportunities are helping many Iowans supplement their incomes, allowing them to benefit from the digital economy. They will also discuss the vital role that broadband plays in entrepreneurship.

More details on the public forums, including the list of panelists, is listed on the  Greater Des Moines Partnership’s website.

Funding from the following public and private partners has made the Broadband Internet Survey possible: Adair County, Dallas County, Guthrie County, Jasper County, the Madison County Development Group, Marion County, the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Polk County, Poweshiek Iowa Development, Story County, Warren County, Alliant Energy, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Pella Rural Electric Cooperative and the Greater Des Moines Partnership.


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