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Waterloo, Iowa, Receives $1.8M for Municipal Broadband Work

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the city was awarded $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan funds for the expansion of its municipal network. Voters recently approved $20 million in bonds for the work.

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Waterloo, Iowa
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(TNS) — More money is coming to Waterloo for its plan to build a municipal broadband network.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that the city was awarded a $1.8 million grant funded by the American Rescue Plan.

"This further validates our vision for a fiber connected, smarter Waterloo and we welcome these dollars to fund key portions of our project," Mayor Quentin Hart said in a news release.

Last week, the city got overwhelming voter approval to issue $20 million in general obligation bonds to help build the network. It passed with 84% in favor. The project has an estimated total cost of $115 million for building the fiber backbone and connecting houses to the system.

"Every Waterloo citizen and visitor also deserves the highest quality, fastest Internet service available, and with Waterloo Fiber, this will be delivered by a highly reliable, underground system, 100% fiber based — locally owned and operated," Hart added.

The investment will be matched with $667,682 in local funds and is expected to create 177 jobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo said.

"This investment will increase Internet connectivity for businesses and residents in Waterloo, promoting business development while improving the availability of telehealth services, distance learning and public safety," Castillo said in the news release.

This particular grant is to construct a middle mile fiber network. The middle mile is the inner section of the fiber infrastructure which enables Internet connectivity for homes, businesses and facilities.

The city is making efforts to find other funds for the project, as well. On Monday, the City Council approved a resolution with Magellan Advisors to prepare and submit another Department of Commerce grant.

©2022 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.