There is a critical need for broadband availability in Missouri. Currently, almost 20% of Missourians – more than 1.2 million citizens – do not have access to high-speed internet. The Office of Broadband Development is focused on addressing this issue by working with providers, communities, and stakeholders in Missouri to expand and accelerate broadband deployment in five core areas including:
- Increase broadband data collection and utilization
- Accelerate broadband infrastructure and access.
- Leverage partnerships to accelerate broadband efforts.
- Increase Broadband Adoption & Awareness
- Promote Efficiencies and Opportunities in Broadband Development
These efforts will lead to significant improvement in broadband access across Missouri, providing enhancements to businesses, agriculture, healthcare, education, and workforce development for present and future generations. For more information or assistance email Tim Arbeiter, Director of Broadband Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri Broadband Update – February 2020
FCC launches rural digital opportunity fund
On Friday, February 7, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission released the orders and launched the $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The reverse auction will take place later this year for a proposed 236,000 locations in high-cost areas of Missouri. Official dates of the auction, eligible map locations, and other program details will be posted within the coming weeks. To read more about the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, click here.
Challenge process for existing broadband providers for Missouri’s Broadband Grant closes in two weeks
Existing broadband providers in Missouri have two weeks remaining to review the applicants and proposed areas under consideration for the inaugural round of the broadband grant program. To see more information about the applicants and proposed project areas, visit the grant website under the Challenge Process section. For detailed information about how the challenge process works, read more in the grant’s FAQ on pages six and seven. Forty applications were received with total project cost of $22 million and seeking grant assistance of over $6.3 million. The 40 project areas propose 10,000 connections (including over 8,600 households).
Six Missouri broadband providers receive $103 million to expand rural broadband from USDA ReConnect Program
Congratulations to the six Missouri Broadband Providers on receiving support from the USDA ReConnect program. In round one of the ReConnect Pilot Program, the USDA invested a total of $103 million throughout Missouri.
The recipients are as follows:
- GRM Networks, headquartered in Bethany, received $41 million in grant and loan assistance – connecting 2,288 locations including homes, farms, and businesses.
- Total Highspeed Internet, headquartered in Nixa, received $40.26 million in grant and loan assistance - 8,683 households, 12 educational facilities, one health care center, and eight critical community facilities.
- Green Hills Communications, headquartered in Breckenridge, received $2.58 million in grant assistance - 546 households, two educational facilities, and one critical community facility.
- Gascosage Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Dixon, received $14 million in grant and loan assistance – 1,177 households and two critical community facilities.
- Mid-States Services, headquartered in Trenton, received $3 million in loan assistance – 566 households, one educational facility, and one critical community facility.
- Marshall Municipal Utilities, headquartered in Marshall, received $1.15 million in grant and loan assistance - 763 households, one educational facility, and one healthcare facility.
USDA opens second round of ReConnect Program
Secretary Perdue launched the second round of the USDA’s ReConnect program making another $500 million available to organizations interested in expanding broadband in rural America. The application cycle opened on January 31, 2020, and will close on March 16, 2020. To find out more information about the ReConnect program, click here.
Missouri Broadband Grant Program Advances in Appropriations Process
The Missouri Legislature's Budget Conference Committee will meet next week to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the State budget. The House included $2.5 million for the inaugural Broadband Grant Program and was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which increased the appropriation amount to the Governor's recommendation of $5.0 million. Legislative leaders from both chambers will determine the final amount to be included in the FY20 State Budget. Once their recommendation is complete, it will be put to a full vote of the House and the Senate and sent to the Governor's desk for his consideration.
Did you miss the 2019 Missouri Broadband Leaders Academy?
Looking to get more involved with broadband development in your community, county, or region? The Broadband Leaders Academy is for you!
The Department of Economic Development partnered with the Hawthorn Foundation and the Department of Agriculture to co-host this special event. Specifically designed for civic leaders, community planners, engaged citizens, and broadband providers, the Broadband Leaders Academy was packed with great information and resources for accelerating broadband throughout rural Missouri. Attendees had the opportunity to engage in discussions with state leaders, receive the latest updates on important initiatives, and participate in two in-depth technical assistance sessions on community broadband planning and funding strategies.
If you missed the Broadband Leaders Academy or you would like to view the presentations, click here.