U.S. and State Dignitaries Celebrate ReConnect Grant Work in Hawarden

September 24, 2020 10:53am

Usda Deputy Undersecty Bette Brand

USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, Bette Brand

USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, Bette Brand, and State Director for Rural Development, Grant Menke, joined Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and others in Hawarden Wednesday morning to see first-hand, the results of a $7.2 million dollar ReConnect grant that was given to Premiere Communications.  The $13 million dollar project allowed Premiere to connect rural Iowans in the Hawarden and Akron areas to high speed broadband internet service.  Approximately 422 miles of fiber optics have been installed in these areas that also reach into parts of Union and Lincoln Counties of SD.

Deputy Undersecretary Brand says the need for rural connectivity is great, saying every American must have access to high speed broadband internet to remain up to date and competetive, no matter whether it's a business or family unit.

Lt Gov Adam Gregg

Iowa Lieutenant Governor, Adam Gregg

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg announced Governor Reynolds is designating $50M in Cares Act Money to increasing access to high speed broadband internet in Rural Iowa.  Gregg says it’s an accelerated broadband grant program, so there will be a higher match, and that will allow the funds to go a long way.

Doug Boone, CEO of Premiere Communications in Sioux Center, whose company received the $7.2M grant award says this matches with company vision, and his hope is to bring this connectivity to Lyon County soon.

Doug Boone Reconnect

Premiere Communications CEO, Doug Boone

Boone says that from time they were awarded the grant, in just five months, the company laid 422 miles of fiber-optics in the area.  He says in another three to four months, most of the 1200 customers will be converted and will be receiving high speed broadband internet service.

The dignitaries visited three sites near Hawarden that have benefited from the new connectivity, Prairie Woods Nature Center at Oak Grove, LandMarc Construction in Hawarden, and Van Driessen Farms of rural Hawarden.