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Missouri receives federal grant for broadband Internet expansion

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Missouri is scheduled to receive nearly $2 million in federal stimulus funds to increase broadband access in the state.

It was one of six states to be awarded the grant Monday in an announcement by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Missouri's Office of Administration was awarded $1.5 million for mapping activities and broadband data collection, as well as approximately $470,000 for broadband planning activities over a two-year period.

The funding is a fraction of the $142.3 million in federal funding for which Gov. Jay Nixon and Marshfield-based Sho-Me Technologies applied in August. Those funds were aimed at laying 2,500 miles of fiber-optic cable and constructing 200 broadband towers.

According to a previous Missourian report, the effort is part of the MoBroadbandNow Project, a public-private partnership aimed at creating a “fiber-optic broadband backbone” that could reach Missouri’s most rural areas. According to a news release from the governor's office Monday, the program could increase Internet accessibility to 91.5 percent of Missouri’s total population.

"We continue to aggressively pursue these federal funds for infrastructure development, even as we now use this $1.9 million for mapping and planning," Nixon said in the release.

With the grant, the state is also required to contribute at least 20 percent in nonfederal matching funds toward the project costs, according to information provided by the Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The administration stated in a news release that all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia applied for the grant. Along with the six states awarded funding Monday, 15 states previously received grants, and awards will continue to be announced within the coming weeks.


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