Federal stimulus could expand rural broadband in Missouri

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | 12:13 p.m. CST; updated 12:19 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — A speedier Internet hookup might be on its way to some of Missouri's rural residents, courtesy of federal stimulus funds.

The stimulus package includes $7.2 billion in competitive grants and loans for broadband expansion. Most of that money is aimed at rural areas.

State officials say they are interested in the idea but that it's too early to have a detailed proposal for securing the funding.

A 2007 report shows about one-fifth of Missourians live in areas without access to high-speed Internet. Most of those people live in thinly populated parts of the state.

An expanded rural network could include municipal wireless hubs or new fiber-optic lines operated by Internet providers.


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