West Des Moines’ $60 Million Plan to Span the Broadband Gap

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Nearly 1,000 miles of fiber-optic conduit is being laid in West Des Moines (IA), bringing lightning-fast internet to every home and business, thanks to a $60 million municipal bond and a novel public-private partnership. Laying fiber lines is costly, messy work: Companies offering fiber service must drill and install conduit on every street in the service area before beginning to offer service and recoup costs. In 2020, West Des Moines entered a partnership with Google Fiber. But unlike previous cities that have participated in the decade-old initiative, West Des Moines is building the fiber conduit network itself, in exchange for Google Fiber promising to lay its fiber lines in front of every home and business in the city — not just in areas the company believes will be profitable. Additionally, the conduit network is not being built only for Google: The city can lease space in the multi-lane tunnels to several internet providers, who will feed their own fiber lines through the existing conduit. 

An Iowa Town’s $60 Million Plan to Span the Broadband Gap