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U.S. News Ranking: Iowa’s Internet Infrastructure and Other Top Rankings (Part 3)

August 6, 2018

Ferreira Optical’s storefront in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago is downtown at 94A Frederick Street. That’s a handful of blocks from the Caribbean Sea – but more than 2,800 miles away from rural Kalona, Iowa (pop. 2,534), where company chairman and owner Colin Ferreira lives. With access to high speed internet, Ferreira can raise his nine children in Iowa while also overseeing eight storefronts and a laboratory, all in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Iowa is first among states in “ultra-fast” internet access, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 rankings. This means a higher percentage of Iowans have access to broadband internet with speeds greater than one gigabit per second than residents of any other state.

This benefits Iowans like Joe Snyder, general manager of Citizens Mutual Telephone, who had gigabit internet access at his company’s Bloomfield, Iowa, (pop. 2,643) headquarters, before his colleagues in a Nashville, Tennessee, satellite office. Or Katie Olson, whose employer is in metropolitan Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while she lives and works remotely from Marcus, Iowa, (pop. 1,065).

There are many companies and municipalities, large and small, currently providing gigabit or faster internet in Iowa. Eighty-one members of the Iowa Communications Alliance provide fiber-to-home service to 302 communities, many of them rural. Iowa’s largest internet provider, Mediacom, recently made one gigabit internet available to all its Iowa residential customers in 309 communities. 

In addition to enabling Iowa businesses and remote workers, major tech companies Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have built facilities in Iowa in part due to the state’s telecom resources.

“Iowa’s close proximity to an ample, affordable power source and high-density telecommunications infrastructure is in line with our long-term business approach,” said Kevin Williams, director of data center services at Microsoft.

Available renewable energy, quality roads and good credit

Iowa earned several additional top 10 category rankings from U.S. News & World Report, which contributed to the state’s first overall ranking:

  • No. 1 in government credit rating score
  • No. 5 in energy
  • No. 10 in road quality
  • No. 10 in social environment

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