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Residents of south-central Missouri are being asked by the Missouri Department of Economic Development to provide information about the accuracy of a map that shows access to high-speed internet or gaps in service.
Corrections or additions to a new broadband map published by the Federal Communications Commission are being sought in hopes that they could help the state of Missouri receive more federal funding for broadband expansion in locations such as Texas County, according to the governor’s office.
“As we make historic investments to expand internet access, I encourage Missourians to participate in the FCC’s broadband map challenge process,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement. “Ensuring we have an accurate understanding of broadband coverage in Missouri is vital. Maps that reflect our needs will ensure our state receives and administers the necessary resources to advance our progress in this critical priority.”
The broadband map challenge is intended to identify errors in the new FCC map that would prevent Missouri from receiving its full share of funding through the upcoming Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program. (BEAD)
Errors on the map could involve physical locations of broadband access or types of internet service availability. To ensure that existing service for homes, businesses, and communities is accurately represented, any resident can examine the map and provide input.
The FCC map displays the available data across the state and denotes where there is service or if areas are unserved or underserved.
Challenges to the map will be accepted until Jan. 13.
“We hope every Missourian will take part in this historic moment for broadband expansion,” said B.J. Tanksley, director of Missouri’s Office of Broadband Development, which works with providers, communities and stakeholders in Missouri to expand and accelerate broadband deployment. “Our goal is access to quality, high-speed internet for every Missouri citizen, business, and community. To get there, we need the public’s help.”
The BEAD Program is part of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act. It will provide $42 billion to the states to expand broadband access.
The state will use BEAD funding for its Connecting All Missourians initiative, which aims to provide high quality internet statewide.
Residents may contact the local University of Missouri Extension offices to get details on how to give input. In Texas County, the office is on Main Street in Houston in the Lone Star Annex.
In addition, residents can go to www.ded.mo.gov/getconnected to get information on how to submit input.