State Sen. Steve Sodders, Ric Lumbard, director of operations and engineering at the Iowa Communications Network, and Michael Sadler, assistant vice president of public policy and government relations at CenturyLink Inc., will speak tonight about broadband access in the state on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" show. 


An Iowa Senate subcommittee this week cleared a bill that would encourage an expansion of broadband access. The bill would authorize property tax incentives and low-interest loans to encourage companies to provide wider access to broadband services, according to this article in The Des Moines Register.


Technology leaders in the state have defined better broadband access as an important step in economic development, as referenced in this Business Record article on Feb. 7.


Preview clips for the program show:

  • Sodders saying he's experienced firsthand that some Iowa communities have more access to broadband than others, which can create a discrepancy in the technological skills Iowa schools are able to teach. Good broadband policies will also attract businesses to the state, he said.
  • To encourage wider broadband adoption, Sadler says the state could play a role in educating the broader population on why the Internet is important. Both bills in the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate include a digital literacy program component.
  • The question was posed on whether Google Inc. coming into the market with Internet coverage would affect ICN and CenturyLink. Google provides broadband access to select cities, including Kansas City, through its Google Fiber program. Lumbard said, by and large, Google coming into the market wouldn't have a large impact on ICN. Sadler said CenturyLink would welcome the competition, provided the competition is fair. He pointed out that often cities will go "out of their way to accommodate Google."

To see the video clips, click here.