State awards more than $7.9 million in ARPA funding to expand cellular service statewide

The Department of Economic Development (DED) announced today that it has awarded a total of more than $7.9 million through the second round of the Cell Towers Grant Program. Grants will be awarded to 14 projects to construct new towers that provide quality cellular service and greater 911 connectivity to high-cost areas. The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is focused on investing in the expansion of cellular service statewide.

“This second round of funding awarded through the Cell Towers Grant Program will further promote economic growth and public safety statewide,” said Governor Mike Parson. “As we continue to improve Missouri’s critical infrastructure, including cellular service, we appreciate the efforts of the Office of Broadband Development. As a result of this program, thousands of locations lacking adequate coverage will now receive quality, reliable cellular connectivity.”

Projects receiving funds through the Cell Towers Grant Program’s second round are expected to serve more than 18,000 high-need locations that previously lacked quality cellular service. The program, administered by DED’s Office of Broadband Development, was launched in May 2023 and awarded competitive grants to applicants who also contributed private funding in addition to grant funds. Each project awarded through this round will result in the construction of one cellular tower, for a total of 14 new towers built statewide.

“Cellular connectivity is a must-have in today’s economy, and we’re grateful to help deliver this necessity to areas needing it most,” said Michelle Hataway, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development. “Thanks to partnerships with providers statewide, this grant program is helping Missourians prosper by ensuring that more businesses, communities, and families can get connected.”

DED opened the second round of funding through the Cell Towers Grant Program on October 20, 2023. The entirety of the $20 million appropriated by Governor Parson and the General Assembly has now been awarded to eligible providers and tower owners for the construction of new towers. 

“We’re thrilled to have awarded all of the $20 million available through the Cell Towers Grant Program,” said BJ Tanksley, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “While there remains plenty of work to be done, today’s announcement is a major step forward in enhancing cellular coverage to the hardest-to-serve areas of our state. Our team is as committed as ever to ensuring we build on progress made and meet our goal of connecting all Missourians.”

Details on recipients of the Cell Towers Grant Program – Round 2 are available here.

To learn more about DED’s ARPA-funded grant programs, visit

About the Office of Broadband Development

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is focused on addressing broadband availability and non-infrastructure barriers to full participation in the digital economy in Missouri by working with providers, communities, and stakeholders to expand and accelerate broadband deployment across the state. OBD’s Connecting All Missourians initiative includes an extensive public engagement process to inform plans for programs funded by the Digital Equity Act (DEA) and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, both part of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA).

To learn more about the Office of Broadband Development or its programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. As one team built around the customer and driven by data, DED aspires to be the best economic development department in the Midwest. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create opportunities for Missourians to prosper.

For the latest updates on DED’s current or future programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.