Iowa Communications Network

Bridging the Digital Divide for Iowa's Communities

The economic and geographic challenges of serving a predominantly rural state like Iowa can result in limited high-speed Internet service outside of the state’s major metropolitan areas. The Iowa Communications Network (ICN) plans to utilize its partnerships with key anchor institutions and other service providers to address this problem and bring enhanced broadband capabilities to all 99 of the state’s counties. ICN’s Bridging the Digital Divide for Iowa’s Communities project proposes to upgrade its existing 3,000-mile network to provide 10 Gbps-capable points of presence in each county, while enabling a system upgrade for as many as 1,000 community anchor institutions statewide to 1 Gbps Ethernet service. Community anchors served by this project will include over 50 libraries, 800 educational institutions, and 1,000 government facilities. ICN’s partnership with non-profit Iowa Health System will allow for a comprehensive statewide fiber network that serves public sector, private sector, and non-profit entities.

Total Award: 
$16,230,118
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A view of ICN’s lab equipment used for testing the configuration

The Iowa Communications Network (ICN) project, known as Bridging the Digital Divide for Iowa’s Communities, will bring enhanced broadband capabilities and provide 10 Gbps-capable points of presence to all 99 of the state’s counties. As of June 2011, ICN has upgraded 210 miles of fiber and connected 301 anchor institutions. Ultimately, the project will enable speeds of 1 Gbps for community anchor institutions statewide for more than 50 libraries, 800 educational institutions, and 1,000 government facilities. ICN’s partnership with non-profit Iowa Health System, which is another BTOP recipient, will also allow for a comprehensive statewide fiber-optic network that serves public sector, private sector, and non-profit entities.

ICN will provide a robust broadband network that will run many bandwidth-intensive applications, such as transmitting hospital MRIs, video streaming, and web-based systems. ICN’s new broadband infrastructure will also provide high-speed Internet service to both the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa and the Decorah MetroNet.

Last Updated: December 7, 2011

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