Holstein, Iowa — The first “Empowering Rural Iowa” Ideas Summits were held this week as part of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. And Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds heard that better broadband is needed in northwest Iowa.
In July, the governor signed Executive Order No. 3, creating the initiative. She invited Iowans to apply for membership on the task forces: the Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force; the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force; and the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force. A meeting of the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force was held in Holstein on Thursday (September 6th).
Task force members were asked to come to the summits with a developed proposal on how to address the topic, says Reynolds.
Reynolds heard from task force members that spotty broadband exists in northwest Iowa. One member suggested that the focus should not only be on broadband for computers but also for mobile devices since their use is becoming more and more prevalent.
The plan is for the task forces to meet twice more before the end of the year. They’ll make their final recommendations at the final meeting.
Organizers of the initiative say that more people than ever are working from home. That means people can work city jobs from rural locations. But it claims that the main thing holding them back is the lack of Internet capabilities in rural areas.
There are also several ways the public can get involved. The Ideas Summits are open to all Iowans and include time for public comment. Iowans who aren’t able to attend the Ideas Summits have other options, says Reynolds.
Again, that address is iowa.gov/rural. The website also includes more information on the task force members, meetings and news. They also have a presence on social media.