Missourians living in rural areas have dealt with a lack of broadband access at disproportionate levels. Funding authorized Tuesday from the Federal Communications Commission could peck away at the problem.

The FCC authorized $22.4 million over the next decade to expand broadband access to 13 counties and 7,400 rural Missouri homes and businesses without internet access, according to an FCC news release.

[Read the Missourian’s coverage of rural broadband access.]These counties include Andrew, Buchanan, Cape Girardeau, Clay, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Mississippi, New Madrid, Nodaway, Platte, Scott and Stoddard. United Services Inc. and GoSEMO Inc. are the two rural electric cooperative companies authorized for this funding.

Wisper ISP Inc., an Illinois-based internet provider, won a similar auction in August. Over the next decade, it is set to receive over $176 million from the FCC’s Connect America Fund.

This funding is expected to provide broadband to 65 Missouri counties. Wisper will focus on providing access to Franklin, Madison and Perry counties, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The funding authorized Tuesday is part of a greater FCC effort to close the digital divide in America, according to the news release. In the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding waves as applications from auction-winners are approved.

Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.

  • State government reporter, fall 2019. I am a junior studying investigative journalism. Reach me at crosen@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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