The federal government's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program has $4.7 billion in funding to distribute to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas in the United States. The Iowa Communications Network's fiber-optic network would like $22 million of that to help extend the fiber optic network throughout the state.
One of the ways the ICN would use the money would be to hook together Luther College, the City of Decorah, Decorah Community School District, Winneshiek Medical Center and the Winneshiek County Courthouse in a "metranet" of government users.
The ICN's application for such funding was sent in to Washington, D.C. on Friday. State officials are hoping for a response by the end of June.
All the participating local governments are excited about the prospect of being connected by a fiber optics network. But there's also the prospect that the public could benefit from the network as well. Local officials say if the network gets funding and is installed, the next step would be to discuss how to roll out access to the fiber optics network to the general public.