Connecting All Missourians

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) will carry out an extensive public engagement process as it plans for its Connecting All Missourians programs. These programs will be funded under the Digital Equity Act (DEA) and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, both part of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA). It will inform the state’s plans for spending more than $1.7 billion toward broadband deployment and more than $20 million toward addressing non-infrastructure barriers to full participation in the digital world.

For more information about BEAD and DEA, please visit internetforall.gov and broadbandusa.ntia.doc.gov.

Updates, News, and Program Announcements

 

New Missouri Broadband Map

The Missouri Public Broadband Availability Interactive Map v1 is now available at https://broadbandmap.mo.gov/  Please see the Office of Broadband Development Mapping web page for more details on the map release and provider registration.

Receive Email Updates

Missourians will be able to report inaccuracies on the map through Missouri’s state challenge process. To be alerted when the state challenge process begins, subscribe for emails and pick the “State Broadband Map Challenge Process” checkbox.

Connected Nation Data Collection

Data collection began the week of January 18, 2024, for the next generation of broadband mapping in the state of Missouri. OBD has contracted with Connected Nation, a non-profit, to collect some data elements from ISPs that will be important for the future deployment of broadband in state of Missouri. There will be two major elements of this data collection effort – we appreciate the participation of ISPs throughout this process.

  1. Connected Nation will be collecting contact information from internet service providers across the state of Missouri. In the immediate future, this contact information will allow our office to notify providers when service they have reported is challenged through our state challenge process. This information will allow us to set up providers in our challenge portal, giving them the ability to file rebuttals when their service is challenged. Full participation in this challenge process will be important to ensure that existing service is respected as BEAD funding is allocated.
  2. Using that list of internet service providers, Connected Nation will work with providers to improve OBD’s understanding of broadband availability in the state of Missouri. Specifically, Connected Nation will request providers submit broadband availability data prepared for the FCC Broadband Data Collection to OBD when they submit it to the FCC. The goal of this request is to improve the accuracy and timeliness of availability data, allowing more precise targeting of future broadband deployment funding.

Please contact broadband@ded.mo.gov if you have any questions about this data collection effort.

2nd Annual Connecting All Missourians Broadband Stakeholder Summit

DED's Office of Broadband Development held the 2nd Annual Connecting All Missourians Broadband Stakeholder Summit on November 7, 2023.

During this event, OBD team members and key partners highlighted our current and upcoming efforts to help bring a quality internet connection to every Missourian.

Connecting All Missourians programs, funded through the Federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act (DEA), represent an unprecedented opportunity to connect unserved and underserved Missourians. These programs will fund lasting investments for broadband infrastructure and measures to promote broadband adoption such as digital inclusion.

In addition to updates from OBD, the agenda included a series of panel discussions such as Right-of-Way & Permitting, Workforce, and Outside Voices. However, the main purpose of the summit was to hear from our stakeholders: rural and urban citizens, businesses, community anchor institutions, local governments, and service providers. Stakeholder input is crucial to OBD's work as we develop future programs. The summit also included time to provide public comment of the draft Digital Opportunity Plan and BEAD Initial Proposal Volumes 1 & 2.

Agenda

Presentation Slides

2023 Missouri Internet Survey 

The 2023 Missouri Internet Survey was conducted by the University of Missouri Extension Exceed Program and will assist the Office of Broadband in utilizing forthcoming broadband funding to more effectively bring the benefit of broadband service to all Missourians. To achieve the goal of universal broadband access and bridge the digital divide in Missouri, state and local planners need input from citizens and organizations statewide. The survey results provide valuable insights and benchmark information as historic investments in broadband expansion and digital inclusion efforts begin. 

Over 7,500 completed surveys from a random sampling of Missouri households were received during the spring of 2023. The survey sought input from all Missourians and gathered responses from smaller populations whose voices can be underrepresented in surveys and have been disproportionately impacted by digital inequity.

2023 Missouri Internet Survey Final Report 

Focus Group Study 

A focus group study was conducted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Community Innovation and Action Center, in order to understand the broadband needs and challenges of Missourians across the state. In order to better use and distribute funding to achieve digital equity in the state of Missouri, it is necessary to understand the barriers Missouri citizens encounter when accessing broadband and how broadband access, or lack thereof, affects their daily lives. These focus groups, along with other data collection methods, allow for a greater understanding of the issues Missourians are facing when it comes to broadband access.

Focus Group Study Final Report 

 

Digital Equity Act (DEA)

State of Missouri Digital Opportunity Plan 

The State of Missouri Digital Opportunity Plan was created in order to satisfy the requirements of, and unlock Missouri’s share of funding provided by, the Digital Equity Act. This plan outlines the progress towards establishing fair and equal access to digital opportunities for all Missourians. This document was composed with the support of numerous partners across the state. The plan outlines the non-infrastructure barriers to equal participation in the digital economy, as well as the current and future resources available to assist Missourians in overcoming those barriers. The plan also outlines the goals and strategies the office intends to deploy in order to assure full participation within the digital economy is attainable for all Missourians regardless of their circumstances.

Help Contribute to the Missouri Digital Asset Map

The Digital Asset Map is a project of the University of Missouri System Broadband Initiative in partnership with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Broadband Resource Rail.

The project aims to provide a comprehensive statewide inventory of public computers and Wi-Fi access locations, as well as resources such as digital literacy programs, computer classes, one-on-one technical assistance centers, and adult/workforce education programs.

Entities offering public internet resources are encouraged to help build the Digital Asset Map by entering basic information that populates a searchable map to help users find nearby digital resources. As more assets are added to the map, MU Extension will help promote the tool to users across the state.

How to Contribute

To contribute, go to Digital Asset Map site. Next, click on the Add/Edit Digital Asset button and fill out the brief form.

The form asks "community anchor institutions" to report available internet speeds. These institutions, such as schools and libraries, help people who would otherwise struggle to get online. The form will help identify locations that may be eligible for federal funds that do not currently have upload and download speeds of at least 1 Gbps.

For questions, contact help@cares.missouri.edu.

Digital Demonstration Projects Grant Program

State awards $250,000 in Digital Equity Act funding through the Digital Demonstration Projects Grant Program

The Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the award of $250,000 through the Digital Demonstration Projects Grant Program. The program, funded through the Digital Equity Act (DEA), is focused on supporting digital opportunities throughout the state. Digital Demonstration Projects will help extend the benefits of the digital economy to all Missourians.

Many Missourians are unable to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the internet for reasons beyond availability of reliable high-speed internet access, which may include lack of familiarity with new technologies, inability to afford an internet-connected device, and the inability to afford internet service.

The Digital Demonstration Project Grant Program is a competitive grant program that will fund projects that allow the State of Missouri to better understand, develop, and implement programming that furthers the goal of digital equity. The results of this Program will inform the Missouri Digital Equity Plan, which must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce to secure future federal funding.

Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD)

BEAD Initial Proposal, Volumes 1 and 2, Submitted to the NTIA

OBD has submitted Volumes 1 and 2 of its Initial Proposal for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Files Referenced in Initial Proposal

BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 2 (Public Comment Closed)

Initial Proposal Volume 2 includes the state’s plan for how broadband projects will be awarded and monitored. The comment period for Volume 2 will remain open until December 15, 2023.

BEAD Initial Proposal Volume II Office Hours

 

BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1 (Public Comment Closed)

Initial Proposal Volume 1 lays out the process through which OBD determines which locations in the state of Missouri should be eligible for funding through the BEAD program, which will bring improved broadband service to unserved and underserved locations across the state. OBD welcomes comment on the proposed process.

The 30-day comment period on this proposal closed on November 26.

As part of Initial Proposal Volume 1, OBD has drawn on various datasets to create a list of community anchor institutions in the state of Missouri that may be eligible for improved service if they have internet speeds of less than 1 gigabit per second download and upload. The process OBD used to identify these locations is laid out in Initial Proposal Volume 1. 

Representatives of community anchor institutions that were not included in the datasets used to produce this list can go to the MoBroadband Digital Asset Map survey and either pick the option to “Add a Digital Asset” or to “Provide information about internet service to a community anchor institution without adding it to the map.” 

The public comment survey can also be used by community anchors that appear on the list without speed information to provide information about the speeds available to them. Community anchors will only be treated as BEAD eligible if they fall into one of the categories defined by OBD in the final version of its Initial Proposal.

Missouri to Receive Over $1.7 Billion in Funding through NTIA for Broadband Expansion (Press Release, June 26, 2023)

BEAD Five-Year Action Plan

The Five-Year Action Plan is a requirement of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The Office of Broadband submitted the final version of the State’s BEAD 5-Year Action Plan to NTIA, the federal agency responsible for the BEAD program, on August 28, 2023. This document provides a high-level outline of how Missouri will invest BEAD funding and other broadband-related resources across the state and highlights the state’s vision, goals, objectives, and strategies to help connect all Missourians to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. The 5-Year plan will inform the state’s BEAD Initial Proposal, which will set the rules governing the BEAD program.