Connectivity to rural broadband is a pain point for communities across the U.S.. Farmers and ranchers – who thrive on technology and data- sometimes struggle to access information when high-speed internet is absent in their communities.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) is on a mission to see change. He recently sat down with U.S. Farm Report and talked about the connectivity issue. He said access to rural broadband is a priority for him as Governor.
“We have about 10 schools in the state of Missouri that don’t even have access to rural broadband,” he said. “These are schools with young kids who we are trying to prepare for the next generation that don’t even have access to broadband.”
He said it’s not just an issue for the schools, but entire communities with little to no connectivity to the internet.
“That’s definitely going to be a priority of mine, to make sure those rural communities and those rural schools have the same opportunities as any other education institution,” said Parson.
It’s a priority that’s already getting attention. This summer, the Federal Communications Commission gave $1.5 billion in subsidies to bring broadband internet service to rural areas through the Connect America Fund auction. The largest recipient of those funds was Missouri.
Through the program, FCC said more than 95,000 homes and businesses in rural Missouri would get broadband access.
Also in 2018, thousands of Missourians in eight counties received word they would gain access to fiber broadband internet. The access will be through a $15.5 million investment by two large electrical cooperatives, as well as a $1 million public funding project by the Delta Regional Authority.
Parson said fighting for fast and reliable internet access across the state will continue to be a mission of his as Governor.