Missouri looking to replicate Minnesota broadband grant program

It speaks well to the Office of Broadband Development, the Broadband Task Force and the Legislators who continue to fund the efforts that another state is looking to replicate the MN Border to Border Broadband grant program. Ozarks First reports

A bill to expand rural high-speed internet access is making a run through the Missouri Senate after having cleared the House.

The proposal from Republican Representative Delus Johnson of St. Joseph would establish a grant program within the Department of Economic Development to expand broadband to unserved and under-served parts of Missouri.

The grants would provide 50% funding to build infrastructure that would offer internet download speeds of at least 10 megabits per second and an upload pace of no less that one megabit per second.  The grants could work with matching federal funding of 50%.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is…

Johnson has said his proposal is nearly identical to a program currently operating in Minnesota to expand broadband access.  BJ Tanksley, a representative from the Missouri Farm Bureau, says the state will have put a priority on faster speeds if it wants to keep up with download/upload goals set by Minnesota.

“We’ve been talking about 10/1 and 25/3 (in Missouri),” said Tanksley.  “Their state broadband goal (in Minnesota) is for everyone to have access to 100/100 by 2025, which isn’t that far out if you really think about it.  So, when we talk about speeds, we’re talking on a pretty low end compared to what other states are setting as goals.”

The speed goal is actually 100/20 by 2026 – but it’s nice to see Minnesota held out as a model of what works.


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