There is bipartisan support for Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s $400-million proposal to increase broadband. The governor tells lawmakers that it’s the largest single investment in state history.
“This investment will increase access across Missouri for rural areas, but also urban areas that are under-served. With this plan, we will connect 75,000 households with high-speed broadband,” Parson says.
Governor Parson says the plan also includes $30-million in funding to construct and upgrade cell towers. Missouri’s broadband director has testified that there are about 392,000 residents who lack high-speed internet, either because it’s not available or they can’t afford it.
Meantime, a key Missouri House committee chair who represents one of the poorest districts in the state gives a thumbs-up to the governor’s broadband proposal. House Agriculture Policy Committee Chairman Don Rone (R-Portageville) represents southeast Missouri’s Bootheel.
“The broadband, we’ve got two utility companies that are building broadband that need help to finish a project down there (southeast Missouri’s Bootheel). We’ve got people without broadband,” says Parson.
Chairman Rone says there are southeast Missourians who were not counted in the recent U-S Census, due to broadband issues.