To expand broadband access statewide, Missouri is turning to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) confirmed that it has awarded a total of $261 million through the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to 60 recipients for projects that will both expand and improve internet access.
According to a DED press release, projects receiving funds are expected to create more than 55,000 connections in locations that previously lacked adequate internet access.
“We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, which represents a major step forward in strengthening Missouri’s internet connectivity,” said Gov. Mike Parson. “Our goal with American Rescue Plan Act funds is to make investments that have a lasting, positive impact for Missourians statewide. Today, we have accomplished that for broadband expansion, which is vital to supporting education, health care, business, and agriculture in today’s economy.”
DED noted that funding was awarded to via a competitive process to a wide range of applicants, including traditional internet providers as well as electric and telephone cooperatives. The program prioritized unserved and underserved areas. Additionally, funds will be used to build new connections that will deliver symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps upload/100 Mbps download or greater.
“I’m incredibly proud of the hard work and careful consideration the Office of Broadband Development team contributed to the success of this grant program,” said BJ Tanksley, director of the Office of Broadband Development. “We truly believe these investments will be transformational for broadband expansion in Missouri. As we continue striving for a fully-connected future, we look forward to this program’s results and appreciate the stakeholder support that helped make it possible.”