Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.8 million grant to the city of Waterloo, Iowa, to expand internet connectivity for key city business corridors and industrial parks. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.
This project will construct a middle mile fiber network, supporting business growth, telemedicine connectivity, and virtual educational opportunities. The EDA investment will be matched with $667,682 in local funds and is expected to create 177 jobs, according to grantee estimates.
“President Biden is committed to harnessing the full power of the federal government to ensure our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This award reaffirms the President’s commitment to increasing internet accessibility throughout the United States and lays a strong foundation for the critical investments we will make to expand high-speed internet thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies designed to stimulate American innovation and entrepreneurial activity,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “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.”
According to Waterloo Mayor, Quentin Hart, “this further validates our vision for a fiber connected, Smarter Waterloo and we welcome these dollars to fund key portions of our project. As a community it is imperative that our current business community, and businesses of the future are connected to a next-generation, fiber-optic network. 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. As a city, we are ecstatic for the support of the administration and our partners to deliver this project to Waterloo!”.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments (INRCOG). EDA funds INRCOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.