Iowa broadband system raises questions about government’s role

By Mike Wiser – The Iowa Communications Network went up for sale Wednesday with a 172-page request seeking private companies to buy or lease the government-built statewide broadband system.

The Iowa Communications Network was Iowa’s effort to connect schools, hospitals and government institutions in all parts of the state — specifically rural areas — to a singular network. The state has spent close to $320 million on the network, which is primarily used for telecommunications and distance-learning services.

The 25-year-old system consists of 8,661 miles of fiber cable but uses, at best, 10 percent of its capacity, said state Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines. more>

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