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Nearly $53 million in broadband internet grants awarded to six southwest Missouri counties

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DED announced Monday that it has awarded a total of $261 million through the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to 60 recipients for projects that will expand and improve internet access in Missouri.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson Monday announced the funding of 60 broadband internet projects throughout the state, including several in southwest Missouri. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro reports.

Parson announced that the Department of Economic Development (DED) had awarded $261 million through the American Rescue Plan Act Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to 60 recipients for projects expanding and improving internet access statewide.

Projects receiving funds are expected to create more than 55,000 connections in locations lacking adequate internet access. The grant program, administered by DED’s Office of Broadband Development, was launched in August 2022 to invest in broadband expansion. The program awarded competitive grants to many applicants, including traditional internet providers and electric and telephone cooperatives.

The program prioritized unserved and underserved areas. Southwest Missouri counties that received grant money include Lawrence, Christian, Douglas, Ozark, Stone, and Taney. Grant funds for these six counties total 52.9 million dollars. Maggie Kost, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development, said in a press release, “Broadband expansion is a critical priority, both for economic development and improving the lives of people across our state.” For 89 9 KRPS News, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro

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Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch krps.org to an NPR style news and information website.
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