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The Iowa Communications Network received a $16.2 million three-year Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) federal grant to enhance its estimated 3,400-mile network infrastructure by increasing bandwidth to all 99 counties with a 10 Gbps (gigabits per second) capable backbone (including ICN county points-of-presence, Community College and other education endpoints, and the State Capitol Complex endpoint). Switching equipment was added to selected K-12 and library sites, now offering the capability for them to have up to 1 Gbps of data service at the endpoints.
Benefits of the grant include removing legacy equipment (553 existing sites were upgraded), simplifying the process of troubleshooting equipment, providing additional bandwidth to edge points, and cost effectively bringing authorized users to the network at the bandwidth capacity their applications require. The project included 231 new sites impacting 429 customer locations and 824 equipment installations. Customers who had existing leased connections (typically 1.5 Mb speed) were able to be increased to 10 Mb immediately on turn-up, with growth potential exceeding 100Mb.
Due to being under budget, ICN was also able to purchase higher capacity routers for some locations to deliver 10 Gbps as opposed to their original 1 Gbps.
Decorah Metronet and the Meskwaki Nation were sub-recipient partners of the grant and have been greatly successful with the completion of their portion of the BTOP enabled networks. The federal grant provided five miles of middle-mile fiber routes to connect the Meskwaki Nation’s tribal community anchor institutions (settlement school, tribal clinic, and tribal center), and in a separate initiative the tribe itself deployed over 14 miles of FTTH (fiber to the home) fiber routes to approximately 196 residences. The Decorah Metronet installed just over eight miles of fiber to government and educational entities in Decorah.
“The Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant received by the ICN has greatly enhanced the services they can provide to the State of Iowa, thus allowing us to provide the citizens of Iowa with a more reliable method of processing the 911 calls at the (Public Safety Answering Points) PSAPs. The ICN is an integral part of our 911 network project and we look forward to continuing the partnership and utilizing their services.”
- Barbara Vos, E911 Program Manager,
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division