COLUMBIA – UM System leaders unveiled a new plan to bring broadband access to a rural pilot community on Wednesday.

According to previous Missourian reporting, the webinar titled “Bringing Broadband to a Missouri Community” talked about bringing broadband to Bollinger County in southeast Missouri.

Four out of five Bollinger County residents currently have no access to broadband internet.

“The UM System is poised to support broadband expansion in local communities through faculty and staff research and programs, partnerships, and the Extension network across Missouri,” said Marshall Stewart, UM System chief engagement officer and MU vice chancellor for extension and engagement.

The webinar followed a workshop in June. The leadership team developed several plans and recommendations for Bollinger County after the workshop, according to a news release.

“In addition to identifying the cost issues for broadband businesses presented by a lack of population density and rural terrain, the team offered solutions for affordability, including the possibility of subsidies and a marketplace that allows consumers to choose from several providers,” the release said.

In the webinar, law experts also noted the need for clearer regulations concerning telecommunications services.

Watch the Wednesday webinar here. The full version of the report talked about is available to the public here.

Gov. Parson has been working on progressing broadband internet in rural Missouri communities by signing two bills last week. 

HB 1768 and HB 2120 extend the Missouri Broadband Grant Program through 2027, which was initially due to expire in August 2021,” according to previous KOMU 8 reporting.


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