Iowa State University has received approval to form a new Center for Wireless, Communities and Innovation (WiCI) from the Iowa Board of Regents, Clay & Milk reported. Expanding broadband service to rural areas and bringing in rural perspectives and leadership on Iowa’s broadband initiatives are the driving forces to create the center. The WiCI will attempt to help make Iowa a leader in wireless and broadband expansion and associated economic development by pursuing four areas: researching advanced wireless, innovation and entrepreneurship, education and workforce development, and community building and empowerment. Funding for the first five years is secured and Hongwei Zhang will serve as director of the new WiCI center. Zhang also directs another ISU project called “ARA: Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connected Rural Communities,” which received a $16 million grant last year to study broadband affordability.