A map showing county-level access to 25mbps or faster broadband service in the state, with darker colors representing greater access. Both Linn and Johnson counties offer the service to 98% of the population. SOURCE BROADBAND NOW 
A bill co-authored by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa designed to improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission's broadband availability maps in rural areas has passed the U.S. House, and now heads to the Senate, where similar legislation has been introduced.
H.R. 4229, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, would require the FCC to collect "granular service availability" data from wired, fixed wireless and satellite broadband providers, and create a challenge process for consumers, governments and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data.
The bill's growing support comes as "virtually everyone," from telecom leaders to FCC Chair Ajit Pai, acknowledges broadband mapping needs to be improved, Multichannel News reports. It also follows a decision by the FCC in August to create a new process for collecting broadband data, known as the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, that aims to improve the FCC's ability to target support for broadband expansions through its Universal Service Fund programs.
"When this bill becomes law, we will finally begin to fix the bad broadband maps that for too long have often misstated speed and availability," Mr. Loebsack said in a statement. "I have often said there are two things needed to connect rural America to high-speed broadband and that is dollars and data. But without reliable data, the dollars do not matter. Garbage in, is garbage out. You have to have good data to know where the problems exist, otherwise it is a waste of taxpayer dollars."
Mr. Loebsack earlier this year also introduced legislation in the U.S. House to bring high-speed internet to more than 98% of the country. H.R. 3278, the Connect America Act, would authorize a reverse auction by the FCC to help fund the deployment of high-speed internet to the largest portion of Americans, at an estimated cost of $40 billion. That bill remains in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Roughly 90% of Iowans have access to broadband service in some form, according to BroadbandNow, a broadband service comparison website, although only 71% have access to fixed wireless service. The website ranks Iowa as the 31st "most connected state," noting that more than 300,000 people lack access to a wired connection capable of 25mbps download speeds - the minimum considered "broadband" by the FCC.
RRantizo among finalists for two national innovation awards 
Rantizo CEO Michael Ott (left) accepts the Grand Prize Award at the AgTech Innovation Competition during the Iowa Power Farming show in January 2019. CREDIT RANTIZO 
Iowa City agtech startup Rantizo continues to rack up kudos, landing among the top 10 finalists for two separate national awards earlier this month.
The nearly two-year-old company is up for both the Ag Professional Top New Product of the Year and is a top 10 finalist in the American Farm Bureau Federation's Ag Innovation Challenge.
"Our drone spraying platform is gathering steam and we are preparing to roll out at a much larger scale," Rantizo CEO Michael Ott said in a release. "It's an honor to be recognized by both organizations and a pleasant surprise to get both within the same week. It's an exciting time."
Rantizo will travel to Austin, Texas, in mid-January to pitch in the finals for the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF's) Ag Innovation Challenge, which takes place during the AFBF Annual Convention.
The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition for U.S. food and agriculture startups. The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, awards $145,000 in startup funds to entrepreneurs who compete throughout the year, culminating at a live pitch competition at the AFBF Annual Convention.
Rantizo has also made it into the top 10 finalists up for the Ag Professional Top New Product of the Year.
The finalists are selected by Farm Journal's Ag Professional, while the winner is the result of a readers' choice vote that concludes Jan. 1. The winner will be announced in the February 2020 issue of AgPro and all AgPro digital communications.
In July 2019, Rantizo became the first and only company approved for drone-based agricultural spraying in the state of Iowa. Since then, it has expanded its licensing and approvals to multiple states.  
The company previously won the AgLaunch Pitch Competition at the Memphis Farm and Gin Show, the Ag Innovation Competition at the Iowa Power Farming Show and the Pappajohn Iowa Venture Competition.
Para3New Alliant battery-storage project goes live in Wellman
Alliant Energy's new utility-scale battery installation in Wellman. CREDIT ALLIANT 
Alliant Energy has energized a utility-scale battery project in rural Wellman that promises to help the utility meet the needs of its customers while also avoiding a rebuild of the local energy grid.
The 650-kilowatt, 2.7-megawatt-hour battery is located in a rural area where numerous customers have installed their own solar panels and expanded the load on the system. A local battery provides an energy management option that doesn't restrict local solar production.
The battery works as a buffer to level out power fluctuations caused by changes in the sun's intensity and provides stable electricity for the company's customers in the area. The system is half as expensive as a local system rebuild, according to the company.
"Battery storage has the potential to be a more cost-effective way to modernize the grid to meet the demands of our customers," said J.P. Brummond, Alliant's vice president of business planning, in a release.
The battery will also be charged and discharged to reduce costs for all customers. When fully charged, it can store enough energy to power roughly 650 nearby homes for four hours.
Utility-scale battery storage units are a relatively new resource for utilities, and their use has been growing in recent years as they have become more competitive with traditional power generation sources, the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes. Operating utility-scale battery storage power capacity more than quadrupled from the end of 2014 through March 2019, reaching 899 MW. The EIA projects that utility-scale battery storage power capacity could exceed 2,500 MW by 2023.
MidAmerican Energy brought its own battery storage facility online last November in the Iowa town of Knoxville. That facility provides 4-megawatt-hours of storage capacity - enough to power almost 900 average Iowa homes for up to four hours.

In the latest edition of this CBJ podcast, hosts Sarika Bhakta and Anthony Arrington talk with Phil Jasper, president of Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace, about the role of diversity in innovation, reverse mentoring and the importance of cultural competency in leadership.
Listen and subscribe to the show at   SoundCloud, corridorbusiness.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. Diversity Straight Up is presented by the city of Cedar Rapids, Collins Aerospace and Alliant Energy.
Para5TAI opens nominations for 2020 Prometheus Awards
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Prometheus Awards, presented by LWBJ.
The annual statewide awards ceremony recognizes innovative companies and individuals impacting Iowa's $11 billion technology industry.
"The Prometheus Awards are the only statewide awards ceremony to exclusively recognize Iowa technologists," said Brian Waller, TAI's president, in a release. "These awards shed light on the past year's extraordinary achievements made by leaders and innovators right here in our state. The awards are essential to the drive and determination of Iowa's technology industry."
Award categories this year include:
  • FinTech & InsurTech Company of the Year
  • AgTech & BioTech Company of the Year
  • Manufacturing Technology Company of the Year
  • Software Development Technology Company of the Year
  • IT Service Provider Technology Company of the Year
  • Startup Technology Company of the Year
  • Creative Technology Solution of the Year
  • Best Technology Company Culture
  • CEO of the Year
  • CIO/CTO/CISO of the Year
  • Emerging Leader of the Year
  • Technology Company of the Year - Small/Medium
  • Workiva Large Technology Company of the Year
Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 3. To submit a nomination, visit technologyiowa.org/nominations. Finalists will be announced in early March. Winners will be announced at the Prometheus Awards on April 9.
For more information, visit technologyiowa.org/prometheus.
aroundthewebFrom around the web: 
  • KCCI reports on ISU professors who are developing lifesaving technology for active shooter events.
  • Verizon's 5G service will now be available in Des Moines as the telecom works to launch it in 30 metro markets by the end of the year, Fierce Wireless reports.
  • Nearly 1,000 junior high students in Council Bluffs learned to code last week as part of the international Hour of Code initiative, Silicon Prairie News reports.
  • The Trump administration is finalizing a set of narrow rules to limit exports of sophisticated technology to adversaries like China, in a boon to U.S. industry, Reuters reports.
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Short-Term Event Planner
Dec. 19
Loft Startup Exchange MeetUp, by Marion Economic Development Corp., 8:30-9:30 a.m., TownePlace Suites, 2823 Seventh Ave., Marion. Hear from Joe Hill about his plans to open a new diner in the old Maid-Rite building in Uptown Marion. For more information, call (319) 743-4724.
BizMix, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Marion Chamber of Commerce, 4-6 p.m., Grand Living at Indian Creek, 325 Collins Road SE, Cedar Rapids. BizMix brings together area professionals for an evening of casual networking. Free. For more information, visit bit.ly/2qRh7uT.
Dec. 20
Coralville Economic Development Holiday Luncheon, by West Bank, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Coralville Public Library, 1401 Fifth St. Celebrate the season with an update from Coralville business and civic leaders while raising money for a good cause. Cost: $15. RSVP to Tom Cilek at tcilek@westbankstrong.com.
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
Three of Iowa's four congressional representatives have announced they will vote yes on the articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump. Democratic Reps. Abby Finkenauer, Cindy Axne and Dave Loebsack all released statements saying they would support both articles of impeachment. "After carefully reviewing the evidence presented, it's clear the President abused his power and obstructed justice," Ms. Axne said on Twitter. Iowa's fourth and only republican member of Congress, Steve King, is expected to vote against the articles of impeachment. The House will vote on the articles of impeachment Wednesday.

A Waterloo man who helped save three young children from a duplex fire that left him homeless is being honored for his actions. Steppin Feild was honored at Monday's Waterloo City Council meeting, receiving the Waterloo Fire Rescue civilian commendation. The fire happened at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6. Fire Chief Pat Treloar said that Mr. Feild smelled smoke and heard children crying in the upstairs apartment where he lived. Once Mr. Feild realized the children, all under the age of four, were still inside, he went into the apartment to get them out. Mr. Treloar said he scooped up the two younger kids, while an older child followed him out to safety. "The selfless action that [Mr. Feild] demonstrated in removing three young children from a life-threatening situation is truly commendable," Mr. Treloar said at the meeting. Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart and Rev. Mary Robinson also commended Mr. Feild at the meeting. A n online GoFundMe page has been set up for Mr. Feild since he lost most of his belongings in the fire. It has raised more than $600.

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Weather First Forecast
It will be sunny and chilly today, with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s. A cold front will move through the area tonight, but won't produce any precipitation due to the lack of moisture. The front will bring in colder air and lead to temperatures in the single digits by Wednesday morning. A slight breeze will lead to wind chills near and below zero. High pressure will be in place Wednesday and it will be sunny, but cold, with temperatures in the 20s. That high pressure system will slide to the east and winds will switch out of the south for the remainder of the week.