USDA Official to Celebrate Rural Iowa Broadband Success Stories During Roundtable Discussion in West Des Moines Monday, December 7th

USDA Official to Celebrate Rural Iowa Broadband Success Stories During Roundtable Discussion in West Des Moines Monday, December 7th

Since 2009 USDA Has Invested $345 Million to Support Broadband Expansion in Rural Iowa

DES MOINES, IA - December 4, 2015 - On Monday, December 7th U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Vernita Dore will participate in a roundtable discussion at 1:30 p.m. at Iowa Network Services, 7760 Office Plaza Drive South, West Des Moines, to learn from rural telecommunications companies how they have used USDA funding in recent years to support broadband expansion across rural Iowa.

Since 2009, USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has invested a total of $345 million in rural Iowa to assist with broadband development projects that have spurred economic development and job creation, enhanced educational opportunities and improved healthcare options with services that were previously available only in large urban cities.

While many of Iowa's households have access to standard broadband download and upload speeds, access to broadband in rural parts of the state continues to be an issue. These investments by USDA work in conjunction with Ripple Effect, a program formed by INS and the Iowa Area Development Group (IADG), which provides financial and technical assistance program options to business and community development projects through rural ITCs and their partners.  

"Economic development and broadband expansion is a huge challenge for rural communities who can't do it alone," says INS CEO, Ron Keller. "Programs like Ripple Effect provide the access to necessary resources and know how that can connect these communities to the programs that USDA provides."

One of the roundtable participants will be Chuck Deisbeck with Western Iowa Networks whose company used USDA funding in 2014 to successfully bring gigabit internet service to residents in and around the rural communities of Breda (pop. 483) and Lidderdale (pop. 180) in rural Carroll County and Westside (pop. 299) in rural Crawford County, along with the community of Carroll. Also participating will be many rural telcom companies who were directly impacted by some of the USDA development programs.

Who: USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Vernita Dore, along with representatives from Iowa Network Services, Minburn Communications, GRM, Interstate Communications and the Iowa Area Development Group.

What: Roundtable Discussion on Broadband in Rural Iowa (Media Availability After Roundtable). Phone interviews available with USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Vernita Dore; USDA State Director in Iowa, Bill Menner; INS COO Mike Eggley; IADG VP of Community Initiatives, Sue Cosner, local telco owners who have benefitted from these programs.

When: 1:30 p.m. CST on Monday, December 7th

Where: Iowa Network Services, 7760 Office Plaza Drive South, West Des Moines

USDA Rural Development's funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa.  Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families.

This past year USDA Rural Development's investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 50 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure. 

Contact USDA Rural Development

For more information about finance programs available through USDA Rural Development, please call (515) 284-4663 or visit the agency's web site at www.rd.usda.gov/ia.

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

About Ripple Effect (https://www.insrippleeffect.com/)

The Ripple Effect program, a partnership alliance between INS and Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) is designed to advance the business and community development vitality of rural Iowa by joining local Independent Telecommunications Companies and partnering municipalities in their economic development initiatives. The program provides financial and technical assistance to business and industry and communities, through local telecommunication providers, to stimulate growth and development in rural Iowa. The program makes available low-interest loans to business applicants and planning grants to communities and their economic development partners for various types of community development projects. INS has committed $1 million dollars to this rural Iowa initiative. At minimum, the Independent Telecommunications Companies are required to match the local financial assistance provided by Ripple Effect.