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White House announces funding for broadband access in Missouri, other rural states

 A photo of ethernet cables plugged into a device.
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Missouri ranks 42nd in the nation for broadband access.

On Monday, The White House announced the allocation of funds for broadband development in Missouri. This initiative is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, with the goal of expanding affordable and reliable high-speed internet to rural communities nationwide.

Approximately 714 million dollars will be distributed for 33 projects in 19 states, including Missouri. The focus is to ensure that rural areas have access to things like advanced placement tests and telemedicine opportunities.

“Everybody in this country has a chance to realize their fullest potential, that no child who goes to a school in a rural area should be denied the opportunity to take advanced placement courses because he or she can’t access broadband because it’s not, ‘efficient,’ or that a doctor who chooses to practice medicine in a rural community can’t provide the assistance and help to an individual because he or she can’t access the telemedicine opportunity for the consults that might save a life,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack said the Department of Agriculture plans to allocate a minimum of 100 million dollars to each state.

"High-speed internet makes rural communities healthier, more vibrant places to live, learn, and work,” said Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator.

The Missouri Farm Bureau says that more than one million Missourians do not have access to broadband, making the state rank 42nd in the nation in terms of broadband access. The hope is for the allocated funds to help residents to have everyday internet access.

“High-speed internet adoption can boost rural economies because people can find higher paying jobs or even start their own businesses,” Landrieu said. “And high-speed internet can slow population decline because young people want to live where they can work online.”

States can apply for additional funds once the initial funding rounds are released.