Minburn Communications has until July 28 to apply for a portion of the $97.5 million in funding from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program, which aims to expand fiber broadband access to unserved and underserved Iowans in our area.
In order to gather data for the application and meet this tight deadline, Minburn Communications is asking area residents and businesses to fill out a Fiber Interest Form no later than July 15.
“Minburn Communications understands the vital importance of consistent and reliable high-speed internet service to the lives and livelihoods of Iowans,” said Debra Lucht, chief executive officer of Minburn Communications. “That’s why we’re seeking funds from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program to extend our fiber networks into underserved or unserved locations in our area.”
Lucht said the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) released Version 4 of the statewide broadband map on July 1, and the map’s data reveals questionable reporting. Some OCIO Targeted Service Areas across rural Iowa, including Dallas and Boone counties, show areas that do not qualify for funding based on current service availability.
Many residents and businesses located in these areas have inquired about connecting to Minburn Communications’ broadband internet because other providers cannot deliver any type of service — reliable or otherwise, Lucht said.
“Through third-party engineering reports, Minburn Communications developed our own map, which more accurately identifies areas surrounding Minburn, Woodward, Perry, Bouton, Dallas Center and rural North Adel as having insufficient to no connections,” she said. “Per the OCIO map, these are the same areas reported as served and do not qualify for funding from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program.”
Lucht said Minburn Communications will be challenging the claims made to the OCIO before the application deadline of July 28.
“Our intent is to advocate on behalf of those residents and business so they, too, can have access to a future-ready, reliable internet connection capable of delivering speeds well over 100/100,” she said.
Minburn Communications is seeking consumer input to help strengthen their position as a funding applicant. Here is how consumers can help:
- Complete the Fiber Interest Form from your location using your current provider connection and computer. (Do not use your mobile cellular device.)
- Confirm your internet access availability:
- Download and print the affidavit.
- Contact your current provider to verify your available connection type and speeds.
- Validate your connection by running a speed test.
- Record your findings and complete the affidavit before a Notary. (We have one in our Woodward office.)
- Return the notarized affidavit to Minburn Communications by July 15.
- Submit a letter of support to Minburn Communications before July 15. We will include this with our application.
- File a challenge directly to the OCIO: Resident Challenge Process Form.
- Share this information with your neighbors and encourage them to join our Rally for Fiber Funds.
“The more data Minburn Communications collects about how many consumers have expressed a need for fiber broadband internet, the stronger our position will be for selection by the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program,” Lucht said. “If awarded the support funding, it would enable us to consider expanding our network farther into the more remote locations. However, we need the data to quantify customer demand. The Qualifying Targeted Service Areas with the most interest forms submitted will move their neighborhood to the top of the list for a possible fiber buildout.”
Filling out the Fiber Interest Form takes just a few minutes, and there is no obligation to sign up for fiber services. The potential benefit to helping challenge the OCIO reports and secure funding is to increase chances of gaining a new option in internet service that will be much faster and more consistently reliable than what is available today.
At present, every Minburn Communications customer connected to the fiber broadband system receives the same speed up as down — at no extra charge. Available speeds range from 25/25 to a Gig/Gig (1,000/1,000). Customers also experience the comfort knowing their connection is fully redundant and not impacted by weather or trees or being bogged down by too many users attempting to connect at once.
Minburn Communications is a technology leader in rural Iowa and a Certified Gig-Capable telecommunications provider. The company delivers Voice, Video Entertainment TV, Broadband Internet, Fixed Wireless Internet, and Business Phone Solutions to customers to Minburn, Woodward, Perry, Bouton, Dallas Center and areas throughout rural Dallas County.