Missouri to launch $50M broadband expansion program

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced July 2 a new $50 million program to expand broadband internet access for healthcare, education and workforce development across the state, according to Missourinet.

The funding will come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. About $20 million in funds will go toward establishing a reimbursement program for broadband providers to help with construction costs for new expansion to households with vulnerable populations or students.

The project will allocate $5.25 million to support connectivity for telehealth services for vulnerable populations. The state will partner with the Missouri Telehealth Network at Mizzou to establish about 12,000 broadband hotspots for the state's 29 federally qualified health centers and 26 community mental health centers.

"It was estimated just over 90,000 Missouri citizens could not access medical care during this time," said Tim Arbeiter, director of the Missouri broadband development office. "It's a continued issue that, again as we faced with the pandemic, facilities closed down."

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