Missouri Governor Parson Announces Broadband Grants to 16 projects, Other Broadband Resources to Aid in COVID-19 Relief Efforts
(STL.News) – Today, Governor Mike Parson announced 16 broadband development projects will receive a total of $3.05 million through the state of Missouri’s broadband grant program. The selected projects will bring service to more than 4,400 Missouri homes, businesses, and farms that lack access to high-speed internet.
“Broadband brings so many new opportunities for rural economies,” Governor Parson said. “From farming and business to education and health care, high speed internet is essential infrastructure in the modern economy, especially during these challenging times.”
According to the latest Federal Communications Commission data, nearly 600,000 rural Missourians lack access to high-speed internet. The broadband grant was established by the legislature in 2018 and is a joint effort between the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Agriculture. The program matches up to 50 percent of eligible expenses.
“It is crucial that Missourians have an opportunity to get connected,” Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “During a time in which many citizens have been instructed to stay home, reliable internet access is critical to meet needs for education, telemedicine, telecommuting, and overall quality of life.”
Along with other state departments, the Department of Economic Development, has also created a web page that lists broadband discounts, waivers, and free resources available to Missourians during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts are intended to help ensure citizens have continued access to necessary services and that businesses remain connected to customers in today’s economy.
”The COVID-19 outbreak has emphasized the importance of strong connectivity for our families, businesses and communities, especially in rural Missouri,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “The demand on our digital infrastructure is unprecedented right now. We need every last mile connected to high-speed internet – all the way to the farm gate – for our rural students, workforce and entrepreneurs.”