About 20 percent of Missourians do not have access to high-speed Internet. A federal grant to expand broadband in the state will put more people on the fast track.
Governor Nixon’s office says Missouri is one of six states that was awarded federal funding from the Department of Commerce for broadband expansion. Spokesman Scott Holste says the money will first identify the problem areas in the state.
Holste says South Central, Northern and Northwest Missouri are unserved or underserved. He says it’s holding many rural areas in the state back from vital information exchange.
Holste says this grant will pay for mapping and data collection … the state now is competing for federal funding to lay some 25 hundred miles of fiber-optic cable and build 200 new broadband towers across the state.
The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA received grant applications representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia; NTIA previously announced 15 grants under the program.
“Our preparations to present the best possible application have paid off in this competitive grant process,” Gov. Nixon said. “We will continue to aggressively pursue these federal funds for infrastructure development, even as we now use this $1.9 million for mapping and planning. There are a multitude of benefits to education, healthcare, commerce and consumers from having broadband reach into every corner of Missouri, and we will continue our work to make this a reality.”
This summer, the Governor announced a private-public partnership, the MoBroadbandNow Project, to compete for federal recovery funds to expand broadband accessibility to 91.5 percent of the total population of Missouri, a significant increase from current projected accessibility of 79.7 percent. The state and Sho-Me Technologies are working together to apply for federal funding to help lay 2,500 miles of fiber-optic cable and construct 200 new broadband towers across the state.
The Office of Administration has partnered with the University of Missouri to collect information and provide an independent source of evaluation for the data collection and mapping efforts. The state also will work with broadband providers across Missouri in collecting data.
The state of Missouri also is receiving $470,000 in federal recovery funds for its broadband planning. This money will help create regional technology planning teams within each of the state’s 19 regional planning council regions to develop a regional broadband adoption plan. In addition, this funding will help the state develop and host information technology summits to provide academia, business, industry, government and local citizens with important information about how broadband infrastructure can be used to their benefit, now and in the future.