The long-running saga surrounding the state-owned Iowa Communications Network continues.
A couple of decades ago, during Terry Branstad’s first 16-year run as Iowa’s governor, Branstad approved construction of a state-owned fiber optic network. He argued schools would be able to use the audio/video connections for “distance learning.”
Some of Branstad’s fellow Republicans oppose the idea of a state-owned system competing with the private sector. Others say the network is now obsolete and an albratross for the state to maintain. But attempts over the years to sell off the network have failed.
In the latest statehouse skirmish over the Iowa Communications Network, Branstad has rejected the legislature’s call for an appraisal of the network’s value and an audit of its operations, “prior to the sale or lease” of the network. In a written statement, Branstad called the appraisal and audit “premature and unnecessary.”
Branstad did approve spending more than $2 million to replace equipment for the Iowa Communications Network. Legislators set that money aside, along with the now-rejected half a million dollars for an appraisal and an audit of the system.