- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House committee has approved Gov. Terry Branstad’s broadband bill, but made several key changes in how the legislation will support expanding high-speed Internet in Iowa.

A full commerce committee voted 22-1 Wednesday in support of the bill, which in its latest version would strip away $5 million in state funds for a grant program. Lawmakers agreed to instead fund the program through federal and private dollars.

It’s unclear how much money will immediately be available for the program, which aims to help service providers build up infrastructure for broadband, also known as high-speed Internet.

The bill also would expand a property tax program from three years to 10 years. Rep. Peter Cownie, a West Des Moines Republican, says other changes to the bill are possible.

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