MISSOURI – Missouri residents, officials and leaders have an opportunity to help improve high-speed internet access in their area during an upcoming virtual video call 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 increase high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.
FCC maps show which areas qualify for those funds based on the number of people who have access to federal broadband service.
A statewide call scheduled for Friday, December 16, 2022 at 1:00 will cover how people can participate in the challenge process. Registration for the event can be done through Eventbrite or through this Missouri Department of Economic Development link.
During the OBD meeting, staff will examine the map and discuss the FCC’s challenge process through which individuals and institutions can submit corrections. That map can be found on the FCC website here.
The challenge process can open up qualifying or underserved areas to an increased share of Missouri’s BEAD resources, potentially bringing tens of thousands of dollars in broadband assistance to the state.
All challenges filed by January 13, 2023, will be considered in determining the state’s allocation of BEAD funding.
OBD is also partnering with University of Missouri Extension to provide in-person technical support to those interested in filing challenges at their county 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, previous federal broadband program maps were not as accurate as their service status in certain regions: Some places would be considered “served” and still lack access to broadband funding. The FCC believes the new maps list a more accurate picture of those without access.