Capitol Perspectives: Program improves broadband access

A program created by the Missouri General Assembly to increase access to high-speed internet is now in effect. The goal of the program is to ensure communities all across Missouri have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

Passed into law in 2018 and signed by then Gov. Eric Greitens, House Bill 1872 established a grant program within the Department of Economic Development to expand broadband internet access to unserved and underserved parts of Missouri. During the 2019 session, the legislature approved funding for the program in the state budget. As a result, the program is now able to provide $5 million in grants that match up to 50% of the construction costs to expand broadband to areas that do not have it.

The broadband grant program guidelines, selection criteria, application and frequently asked questions are available on the Department of Economic Development’s website at ded.mo.gov/content/missouri-broadband-grant-program.

Guidelines and scoring criteria are now posted on the department’s website. The grant application period will open on Dec. 4. Applications may be submitted through Jan. 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.

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