Project Grant


Grant Description
Project Purpose:
According to the applicant, the project proposes a cost-effective approach of utilizing existing and planned communication networks to provide connectivity for ISPs to deliver broadband to end users in need. The project offers an opportunity to leverage the applicant's energy infrastructure management network to provide a high quality, cost-effective middle mile fiber routes. In addition to building new routes to connect its remaining infrastructure and making that fiber available for middle mile broadband, the applicant will be offering unused capacity on its existing fiber network (24 strands) as new open access middle mile. Six segments comprising 775 miles of new build will provide 72 fiber strands for dark fiber leasing. Opening 1,365 miles of applicant-owned fiber to public access will provide 24 strands to facilitate last mile connections. The design also supports efficient connections to unserved and underserved anchor institutions. The resulting network will enable fiber connections that can provide 1 Gbps symmetrical across a wide area of Iowa.

Activities to be Performed:
The project will use fiber to build a new and resilient middle mile network through unserved and underserved communities with a commitment to open access and carrier neutral non-discriminatory interconnect. The period of performance is expected to be two years.

Expected Outcomes:
The project will achieve the following outcomes:
- Deploy middle mile dark fiber through 775 miles of new build and make available 1,365 miles of existing applicant-owned fiber to public access that collectively will facilitate last mile connections for 12,677 unserved and 6,376 underserved locations.
- Provide access to 695 unserved and underserved anchor institutions.
- Allow high-speed connections to internet aggregation points of presence (POPs) in Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa.
- The applicant has developed pricing that is under half the price of similar middle mile services (e.g., dark fiber, leased circuits). This significant reduction in wholesale costs to last mile providers provides a firm basis for price reductions to end users for a greatly enhanced broadband service. The applicant provided comparative middle mile pricing data and indicated they were prepared to offer dark fiber to middle mile and last mile service providers at a maximum price of $10/month/strand/mile.
- The project creates a resilient and redundant ring network architecture that supports the delivery of more reliable broadband services. Additionally, the enhanced fiber network will improve monitoring of the electrical network and help protect the power grid.
- The project supports workforce objectives by working with unions on apprenticeship programs, robust training efforts, partnerships with local colleges, and strong diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

Intended Beneficiaries:
The project will benefit unserved and underserved communities in central and western Iowa through the deployment of a fiber optic ring architecture network that provides middle mile and last mile providers access to dark fiber resources. The applicant asserts that the proposed network will provide broadband infrastructure that enables last mile services via last mile providers for:
- 12,677 unserved and 6,376 underserved locations
- 695 total unserved and underserved anchor institutions including 27 unserved anchor institutions
- 14 communities containing 1,200 locations that exhibit high poverty (exhibiting poverty at 200% or less than the federal poverty guidelines)
- Rural counties with an average population of 22,062 residents.

Subrecipient Activities:
There are no subawards.
Place of Performance
Davenport, Iowa 52801-1502 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Related Opportunity
MID American Energy Company was awarded Project Grant 1940MM519 worth $37,839,312 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in July 2023. The grant has a duration of 2 years and was awarded through assistance program 11.033 Middle Mile (Broadband) Grant Program. $37,854,451 (50.0%) of this Project Grant was funded by non-federal sources.


Last Modified 6/21/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
12.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
50.0% Federal Funding
50.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
For-Profit Organization (Other Than Small Business)
Awarding Office
Funding Office
Performance District
Charles Grassley
Joni Ernst
Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Modified: 6/21/23