The University of Missouri System will introduce a plan Wednesday to bring high-speed, affordable broadband internet to rural parts of the state.
A public webinar, titled "Bringing Broadband to a Missouri Community," will introduce the university-led road map that will bring broadband to Bollinger County in southeast Missouri, according to a Monday news release. The plan will also serve as a model for other rural parts of the state.
Researchers, system officials and representatives who make up the UM System Broadband Leadership Team also will provide information about the Missouri Broadband Resource Rail, an online resource that will aid the state in its goal of providing broadband.
The webinar will be livestreamed from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Rural Missouri has long been set back by a lack of reliable and affordable high-speed internet, as detailed in a 2018 Missourian special report. The absence of broadband in these areas has hampered business, agriculture, health care and education, and the pandemic has only furthered the need for reliable connections as many work and learn from home.
Last week, Gov. Mike Parson signed two bills that expand the Missouri Broadband Grant Program through 2027. It was set to expire in August 2021.