MISSOURI — Missouri residents, officials and leaders have an opportunity to help improve high-speed Internet access in their area during upcoming virtual video calls with the state’s Office of Broadband Development (OBD).
Maps recently released by the Federal Communications Commission will determine how much of the $42.45 billion in federal broadband funding will go to the Show-Me-State through the BEAD program.
The BEAD program, which stands for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment, will provide funds to expand broadband access through financing planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.
The FCC’s maps show which areas qualify for the funds, based on how many people have access to federal broadband service.
The statewide call, scheduled for Friday, December 16, 2022 at 1:00 p.m., will outline how people can participate in the challenge process. Registration for the event can be done on Eventbrite or through this link through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
During the OBD meeting, staff will examine the map and discuss the FCC’s challenge process by which individuals and institutions can submit amendments. That map can be found on the FCC’s website here.
The challenge process could open qualified or underserved areas to a greater share of Missouri’s BEAD resources, potentially bringing thousands of dollars in broadband aid to the state.
All challenges submitted by January 13, 2023 will be considered when the state makes a decision on the allocation of BEAD funding.
OBD also partners with University of Missouri Extension to provide in-person, technical assistance for those interested in submitting assignments to their district offices. You can reach the Jasper and Newton County Extension offices here and here respectively.
The Office of Broadband Development will also answer questions about the challenge process by phone at 573-526-1028 or by email at [email protected].
In the past, maps of federal broadband programs were not very accurate with the status of their service in certain regions; some locations would be considered ‘served’ while still lacking access to broadband funding. The new maps, the FCC says, provide a more accurate picture of who doesn’t have access.