New NTIA Data Show Enduring Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide, Achieving Digital Equity

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what many already knew: high-speed internet access is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. As workplaces and schools shifted to online environments, families that lacked access to affordable, reliable, high-speed connections, appropriate devices, and digital skills fell further behind. Newly released data from the 2021 NTIA…

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Digitally Connected Community Guide tapped for national workshop

The University of Missouri System Broadband Initiative team was tapped to help train extension professionals to be effective partners in closing their state’s digital divide. The May 3–5 workshop in St. Louis equipped participants from 11 states with training and tools based on the UM System’s Digitally Connected Community Guide model to help close critical broadband…

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Seven “Characteristics” of Successful Broadband Public-Private Partnerships

We are at the beginning of  the Great Broadband Infrastructure Funding Boom. New federal funding for broadband started with the CARES Act and picked up steam with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) but the amounts involved are dwarfed by over $65 billion that will be distributed by the federal government over the next few…

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The Broadband DATA Act, RDOF, BEAD, The Long Slog Toward Broadband Access

As 2022 begins, it seemed an appropriate time to take stock of progress we’ve made in funding broadband access. This blog checks in on some federal government programs that have gotten quite a few headlines over the past year or two, to see how implementation is going.

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Closing the Digital Divide: Houston, Missouri Finds a Solution

Don Tottingham, longtime Mayor of Houston, Missouri, loved his City and thought it was a great place to raise a family. But he also recognized it had a major infrastructure issue: its residents and most small businesses lacked an adequate, reliable, high-speed internet connection. The Vision Mind you, Houston, Missouri, a city of approximately 2100,…

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Helpful Guidance on the Use of ARPA Funds by Local Governments

We’ve written earlier about the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds to pay for broadband infrastructure projects. Besides the cryptic language in the statute (necessary broadband infrastructure) we noted two helpful additional sources published by the U.S. Treasury Department —  the “Interim Final Rule” effective May  17, 2021, and a series of answers…

Using American Recovery Plan Act Funds for Broadband Infrastructure — Guidance for Local Governments
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Using American Recovery Plan Act Funds for Broadband Infrastructure — Guidance for Local Governments

By Marc McCarty Memories are short. As I write this in mid-August, the focus is on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the IIJA) that passed the Senate on August 10th. That Bill has made headlines in part because it promises to make $65 billion available for broadband infrastructure and adoption. Even though it…

Rural Access to Industry: Barriers from the Infrastructure Planning Front Lines

As part of this research initiative, we conducted a qualitative analysis of 11 semi-structured interviews with the planning community in Missouri to identify what barriers they recognize for the deployment of rural broadband in Missouri. Participants reported that the return on investment and the financing of rural broadband projects constitute the main barriers. Technology was…