Rural Broadband Funds Still Flowing in Missouri

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will once again offer grant funds to help pay for projects to bring high-speed Internet access to communities that lack access to such a network.

by Clinton Thomas, St. Joseph News-Press / January 5, 2015
Arrow Rock, Missouri Flickr/Scott Granneman

(TNS) -- The stream of federal funds that brought rural broadband access to Northwest Missouri continues to flow.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will once again offer grant funds to help pay for projects to bring high-speed Internet access to communities that lack access to such a network.

Janie Dunning, state director of USDA Rural Development in Missouri, announced in late December that the USDA would accept applications for its 2015 Community Collect Program grants until Feb. 17. The amount awarded will fall between $100,000 and $3 million.

“To move our rural communities toward their full potential, we must recognize our global connection,” Ms. Dunning said. “Rural communities and economies can benefit from accessing the world. Unfortunately, many rural communities in Missouri do not have access to broadband.”

Much of rural Northwest Missouri gained broadband access as a result of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, which set aside funds for such projects in 2009.

Grand River Mutual Telephone Corp., of Princeton, Mo., received a $40.9 million grant in July 2010 to provide broadband access to 1,221 people and 47 businesses in Lathrop, Mo., and the surrounding area, along with thousands more in other communities in northern Missouri and southern Iowa. The next month, Grand River Mutual received additional grants worth more than $23 million to extend service to an estimated 4,300 people, 1,100 businesses and 28 institutions in the Missouri communities of Browning, Denver, Gentry, Linneus, Meadville, New Hampton and Purdin.

United Electric Cooperative received a $21.2 million grant in August 2010 to build a network potentially serving 4,224 households, 58 businesses and 150 institutions in parts of Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry and Nodaway counties.

©2015 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)