Missouri’s Office of Broadband Development has launched the first version of the new Missouri Public Broadband Availability Interactive Map. Through the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the map will help in the investment of $1.7 billion in broadband funding to increase internet connectivity in the state.

The federal funding is through what is called the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

“We’re excited to release mapping that will inform the public and private sectors about broadband availability and BEAD program funding,” said BJ Tanksley, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “This interactive map will play a vital role in collecting feedback from stakeholders during the BEAD challenge process and help prepare for project implementation. We encourage citizens to review the map as we continue working to fulfill our mission of connecting all Missourians.”

Missourians can use the interactive map to report areas that lack service and should be eligible for funding. The challenge process is scheduled to open on March 18, 2024, and close on April 19, 2024.

Missouri was recently listed as one of the worst U.S. states for internet connectivity with over 400,000 locations across the state without access to quality broadband. Last October, Director Tanksley told Missourinet that Missouri is at a crossroads.

“We’re not as rural as some of the western states, but we’re not as populated and not as well served as a lot of states,” he said. “So, we do lay in kind of an interesting place where we are one of the more unserved and underserved number of locations.”

The Biden Administration allocated over $1.7 billion last June to the state of Missouri, the third highest amount in the country, to help expand and improve broadband internet access statewide.

The interactive map uses the Sanborn Map Company’s Broadband Navigator technology, which is built for states like Missouri to conduct the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program.

“In the case of Missouri, the application will also allow for internet service providers to create project areas during the subgrantee selection process,” said Justin Fazzari, Sanborn’s Senior Broadband Strategist and former NTIA policy analyst.

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