Iowa ranks as the 45th best-connected state in the USA. Despite relatively even broadband coverage throughout the state, speed tests reveal that Iowa’s average download speed is 78.9 Mbps, which is the second-slowest nationwide. Only Alaska’s average speed is slower than Iowa’s. Even with slower internet speeds, monthly internet prices run higher than many other states.
The Digital Divide in Iowa
‘Digital divide’ is a phrase used to depict the difference between those who have access to the latest telecommunications technologies – including affordable, high-speed internet – and those who do not.
In the case of Iowa, 89.7% of the population has access to a wired broadband connection with speeds of 25 Mbps or faster. However, 302,000 Iowans do not have a connection capable of such speeds, and another 100,000 residents do not have access to any wired connection at their location. Additionally, out of the 422 internet providers, 457,000 people in Iowa only have access to only one wired provider at their residence, leaving them no options to change providers if the need arises.
Beyond that, affordability data shows that only 18.5% of the population has access to a low-priced internet plan (costing $60 or less per month). This is significantly lower than the national average of 51.5% of consumers with access to a low-priced plan.
When it comes to high-speeds, low-prices, and widespread coverage, the best-connected cities in Iowa are Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Forest City, and Lake Mills, with the former ranking number one in the state. Although Cedar Rapids ranks first, up to 38% of residents there don’t have access to wired broadband.
Currently, Iowa’s worst-connected cities statewide are Garden City, Popejoy, Lincoln, and Magnolia, with the lowest-ranking listed first. None of these cities have an average internet speed of even 10 Mbps.
The Connected Nation Iowa program has received over $5.76 million in federal grants since 2010 to expand and adopt the use of high-speed broadband throughout the state. Almost $34 million more in federal grants has been awarded toward the development of broadband infrastructure projects within Iowa.
The State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer currently administers at least three programs aimed at increasing broadband services in Iowa.
The information above is curated from a combination of public and private datasets. See more about our data here.