Broadband Workshop Helps Expand Internet Access to Rural Missouri Residents

Broadband Workshop Helps Expand Internet Access to Rural Missouri Residents

JEFFERSON CITY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development held its fourth broadband workshop Thursday at the Missouri Farm Bureau.

The workshop aims to help rural communities apply for federal funding to expand local broadband networks through the ReConnect program.

ReConnect Loans and Grants help extend high-speed Internet access to millions of people in rural America nationwide. The USDA has more than $1 billion from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

“I can tell you that in the State of Missouri, we do our best with workshops like this, to make sure that entities understand that the fourth round is in the application process, and that it’s time to make you want to get involved. It’s time to come ask us,” said Kyle Wilkens, USDA state director of rural development.

Companies applying for the grants say the funding helps them reach more homes.

“We’re doing a lot of construction right now in what we would just say, denser areas,” said Jim Patterson, chief strategy officer of Wyre Broadband. “We want to be able to provide service across the county. This makes it easier to expand and improve our total coverage in a county rather than in cities.”

Missouri ranks among the last 25 US states without adequate broadband access, according to BroadbandNow.

For more information on how to apply, visit the USDA website.

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