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Missouri Governor Announces $400M Investment Broadband

Gov. Mike Parson has announced a plan to invest $400 million toward efforts to increase broadband access throughout Missouri. The funding for this investment comes from the American Rescue Plan.

Broadband
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced this week that $400 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding will be used to increase broadband investment throughout the state.

Investing in equitable broadband access has become a priority for states since the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the digital divide. Missouri has already invested $50 million in relief funds toward the effort. Now, it joins Virginia in a growing list of states planning to invest ARPA funds into broadband expansion.

“Quality Internet supports learning, health care, business and agriculture in today’s economy, and we are excited to capitalize on this opportunity to truly make a difference and improve lives,” Parson said in the announcement.

The plan will be presented to the state Legislature for appropriation in January.

Currently, over 400,000 Missourians do not have access to high-speed Internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

The state’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has applied for an additional $56 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Infrastructure Program.

The additional funding would bring Internet access to an additional 17,000 households, as detailed in the release.

Earlier this year during his State of the State address, Parson detailed state officials’ commitment to broadband expansion and plans to continue investment to bridge the technology gap that exists for constituents.