Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) Today, Missouri Governor Parson and the Departments of Economic Development and Agriculture announced the launch of the state’s broadband grant program, which will award $5 million to bring high speed internet to Missourians across the state.
“It’s a huge problem that nearly 20% of Missourians lack access to high speed internet,” Governor Mike Parson said. “That’s the kind of problem that if you work toward solving it, it’s going to help with other problems, like retaining good talent or offering better health care and education for our communities. Broadband is exactly the kind of infrastructure that Missouri needs to grow and thrive in the future.”
“Missouri’s rural and urban communities are ready to put these funds to work,” Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “By providing an opportunity for broadband infrastructure upgrades, we hope that all of our communities will soon have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. It’s our long-term goal to connect our communities, all the way to the last mile.”
Created by the Missouri General Assembly in 2018 and funded during the 2019 legislative session, the grant program matches up to 50 percent of the construction costs to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state.
“We want to thank Governor Mike Parson and the General Assembly for making this issue a priority,” Rob Dixon, Director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development said. “Broadband is the kind of infrastructure that is essential to our employers and to our economy.”
Guidelines and scoring criteria are now posted. The grant application period will be open on December 4, 2019.
Once the grant period begins on December 4, applications may be submitted through January 6, 2020. Projects will be selected based on the need for servicing unserved areas of the state, meeting or exceeding the state’s minimum definition of high-speed internet, the applicant’s share of total project costs, economic and community benefit, and adoption strategies.
The broadband grant program guidelines, selection criteria, application, and frequently asked questions are available on DED’s website.