Sen. Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, has introduced legislation that calls for extending high-speed fiber-optic services to rural Iowa and other underserved or unserved areas of the state. 


The legislation, Senate File 60, is the first bill introduced this legislative session to address broadband Internet service, which proponents say is crucial for future economic development, especially in rural areas that in some cases have no high-speed Internet providers. 


Gov. Terry Branstad made broadband service a legislative priority, and leaders of the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate have said they want to find legislation that can pass their chambers. 


Broadband legislation died last year in the Iowa House. 


Rep. Peter Cownie, a Republican from West Des Moines and chairman of the House Commerce Committee, is spearheading efforts to draft legislation in his chamber. Cownie said a bill could be introduced this week. 


Sodders said his bill does not include tax incentives and the siting of cell towers, two issues that led to the defeat of last year's legislation. 

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