Branstad, lawmakers: Broadband expansion important

Despite the surprising defeat of a broadband expansion bill as the Legislature neared adjournment, Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers say the effort is important to rural Iowa and should be pursued.

The GOP-majority House defeated the bill last month, with nine Republicans joining with Democrats in opposing a measure they argued included too many tax breaks to telecommunications companies and not enough requirements for the services they would provide.

Supporters of the measure argue that without incentives, companies have little motivation to extend broadband into rural areas.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers says the governor is committed to broadband expansion and will try again.

Rep. Guy Vander Linden, a Republican from Oskaloosa who opposed the bill, says experts need to work out specific guidelines before lawmakers take up the bill again.