The state is about to set aside 255-million dollars to get high-speed internet service to rural areas. But there are no guidelines about who should get that money and there is some sentiment that some companies don’t deserve any of the money
Senator Brad Lager, whose district covers much of north and northwest Missouri, says his phone company should not be allowed to have any of that money to give him high-speed internet service. Lager lives between Savannah and St. Joseph. He says he has "country" high speed internet—-but it’s inferior to the high-speed internet available in towns. Lager says his phone company, CenturyTel, has not earned the right to get that government money
"What’s about to happen now," he tells the senate, "is that you’re about to have companies that have made a conscious decisions at the detriment of their consumers [and] at the benefit of their pocketbooks to come and get federal money–our tax dollars–to now build a network with our dollars that they were unwilling to build with their dollars and then take those networks and make money off of it. I find that’s absolutely appalling. I don’t think there’s anything that’s right about that. "
He gets some support from some other rural senators who suggested Rural Electric Cooperatives might be able to provide the service. Lager says he has a lot of smaller phone companies in his district that might be able to benefit.
The Senate has not written any restrictions into the appropriation, despite Lager’s complaints. Much of the spending guidelines will come from the federal government anyway