A rural electric cooperative will ask the federal government for more than 142-million dollars today….to give tens of thousands of Missourians high-speed internet access.
The money would come from the federal agriculture department and be matched with more than 25-million state dollars plus more than eight-milion additional dollars from the Show Me Power and Show-Me Technologies Cooperative in Marshfield.
If it all comes together, the money will finance a 25-hundred mile fiber-optic network that includes about 200 new broadband towers.
Sho-Me’s manager of administrative services, Jerry Hartman, says last-mile internet service providers will plug into that network. "If they want to sell services in a town of 500 people…this opens that up," he says.
He says it’s logical that a rural electric co-op should lead this project because it was RECs that revolutionized rural life in the 30s, 40s, and 50s by bringing electricity to farming areas. That project took 25 years or so to complete. Hartman hopes the broadband internet project is done in five year—and preferably in three