These News Items are the most pertinent information as it relates to federal funding and things that require immediate attention. If something seems missing or you have an item that should be added feel free to send it to info@mobroadband.org.

November 11, 2022 - Digital Learn

Instructor guides and PowerPoint materials, course activity sheets, and other printable handouts are
available to enhance teaching and learning. Free online courses on numerous content areas of digital literacy accessible to independent users, as well as through public libraries, with teaching resources. Topics covered are comprehensive and include tools to improve health and access healthcare.

November 12, 2022 - Managing Work Environments

November 12, 2022 - Employability Skills – Searching and Applying for Jobs

Preparing resumes and other important documents, searching for employment on the Internet, career networking, completing online applications, and preparing for job interviews:

November 12, 2022 - Grow with Google OnAir

Using Google tools, free virtual workshops (current and prior, on-demand) are available for developing
practical career and tech skills and business acumen.

November 12, 2022 - Creative Digital Skills

November 12, 2022 - Financial Skills and Shopping Online

November 12, 2022 - Entrepreneurship and Related Work Topics

Developing self-employment opportunities:

November 11, 2022 - Net Literacy

Learning resources primarily focus on Internet safety for younger audiences through video presentations, with additional content designed for senior citizens. Trainers have access to lesson plans via Powerpoint presentations.

November 11, 2022 - Skillbase

Course access for students and trainers is through links to external learning websites, many of which offer video instruction, written transcripts, course material that can be downloaded for offline use, and certificates of completion.

November 11, 2022 - Northstar

Free instruction is obtained through audio-video presentations. Teaching tools include tutoring plans and guides for teaching, learning, and testing remotely or in-person at a Northstar-affiliated organization or institution.

November 11, 2022 - Tech Boomers

Tutorials, articles, and videos covering course content are available to teachers and students, with additional resources provided for tech trainers. Free educational website teaching older adults and/or inexperienced Internet users how to use popular websites and internet-based applications (re: shopping online, online entertainment, social websites and apps, and understanding the basics of technology)

November 11, 2022 - Learn My Way

Audio course content and instruction, quizzes on course content, and supplemental learning activities are
available to trainers and students.

November 11, 2022 - Good Things Foundation

Audio course content and instruction, quizzes on course content, and supplemental learning activities are
available to trainers and students. Based in the UK, numerous, free online resources on basic computer skills, using the Internet for multiple purposes, and preparing for a job search. A few courses focus on navigating public sector resources in the UK for health and other needs.

November 11, 2022 - Denver Public Library

Lesson plans, course handouts, and supplemental materials are accessible for trainers and students. Free online courses and teaching guides for numerous content areas of basic digital literacy, including how-to projects using basic Internet and computer programs. Many courses are linked to external online
resources (e.g. Goodwill/GCF, Udemy, Digital Learn). Some external resources are primarily available for
registered library users, while a limited number of courses are available directly through this library site.

November 11, 2022 - Employability Skills – Education, Training, and Career Planning

November 11, 2022 - Social Media Skills

November 11, 2022 - Email Communication

November 11, 2022 - Internet Safety and Cybersecurity

Strategies for maintaining the security of computer equipment and using the Internet in a safe and
responsible manner:

November 11, 2022 - Computer Basics – Internet

November 11, 2022 - Computer Basics – Software

November 11, 2022 - Computer Basics – Hardware

November 9, 2022 - Google for Education

Google for Education provides teaching tools include lesson plans, video presentations for each course, rubrics on how to evaluate student work, and certificates of completion.

Google for Education offers free online courses of interest, such as using Email, using other Google resources, job prep/seeking, and implementing specialized projects designed for elementary students up to adult learners (e.g. how-to activities and cultural lessons on racial tolerance and environmental protection). Teaching resources are included. Users sign in via Gmail.

October 17, 2022 - ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program Launches Challenge Process

Challenge Applications for the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program Challenge Process will be accepted now through November 13, 2022 11:59 pm Central Time. For more information, please visit DED's ARPA Broadband webpage

A broadband internet service provider that provides existing service in or adjacent to a proposed service area may submit to OBD a written challenge to an application based on its proposed service area. Within three business days of receiving a challenge, OBD will notify the applicant of such challenge.

A challenge will succeed when OBD determines that, for the proposed project service area, the challenger:

  1. Currently provides broadband services meeting baseline speed of 100/20 Mbps; or
  2. Has begun construction to provide such services; or
  3. Has an enforceable commitment to provide broadband internet service at speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps and scalable to higher speeds to the proposed service area in a timeframe similar to that proposed for the applicant’s project.

To view the list of ARPA Broadband Grant Program Projects, click here.

Note: OBD has experienced technical issues with a few shapefiles of proposed projects. We are working to resolve these and will update the map as quickly as possible.

To view the Challenge Map, click here.

To access the Challenge Application, click here.

To subscribe for email updates, click here.

September 23, 2022 - Biden-Harris Administration Announces $502 Million for High-Speed Internet in Rural Communities

Funding Will Provide High-Speed Internet Access to People and Businesses in Rural and Remote Areas across 20 States; Additional Funding Will Come From President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Coming Months.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is awarding $502 million in loans and grants (PDF, 221 KB) to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and providing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all. USDA is making the investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

“President Biden’s commitment to high-speed internet in rural communities is foundational to ensuring that the nation’s economy continues to expand from the bottom up and the middle out,” Vilsack said. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets. It will help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities. USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”

USDA is making 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses on Tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.

As part of today’s announcement:

  • In Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is receiving a $25 million grant to connect 1,217 people and 26 businesses to high-speed internet in Chippewa and Mackinac counties. The Tribe will make high-speed internet affordable by requiring its service provider to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a discount of up to $30 per month – or $75 per month for households on Tribal lands – on household’s internet bills, as well as the FCC’s Lifeline Program. This project will serve Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, the Sault Ste. Marie Reservation as well as socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
  • Net Vision Communications LLC is receiving a $12.4 million loan to connect 4,587 people, 300 businesses, nine farms and 15 public schools to high-speed internet in Barton County, Missouri. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in the county.
  • Oklahoma’s Southern Plains Cable LLC is receiving an $8.1 million loan and an $8.1 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 7,093 people, 230 businesses, six farms and 29 schools to high-speed internet in Caddo, Comanche, Cotton and Grady counties. Southern Plains will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. This project will serve the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache-Fort Sill Apache tribal statistical area as well as socially vulnerable communities in Cotton County.

USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding so far and plans to make more investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. Today’s announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect Program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states (PDF, 192 KB) gain access to high-speed internet.

Background: ReConnect Program

To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development state office.

Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers costs for internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by internet access.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Read more...

September 9, 2022 - Biden-Harris Administration Now Accepting Applications for $1 Billion Rural High-Speed Internet Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is now accepting applications for ReConnect Program loans and grants to expand access to high-speed internet for millions of people in rural America nationwide. The Department is making more than $1 billion available, thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program is a critical piece of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to connect every American to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

“Ensuring that the people of rural America are connected with reliable, high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country, and it remains a core priority for President Biden,” Vilsack said. “That’s why high-speed internet is an important part of USDA Rural Development’s work with rural communities. Reliable high-speed internet opens the world’s marketplace to rural business owners. It enables them to expand their businesses and give more jobs and opportunities to people in their own community.”

On Sept. 6, USDA began accepting applications for loans, with available funds of $150 million, grants with available funds of $700 million, and combination loan/grant awards using $300 million under the ReConnect Program. These funds were appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Governmentwide, the law provides an historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

The application deadline is Nov. 2. For additional information, see page 47690 of the Aug. 4 Federal Register (PDF, 231 KB).

USDA has made several improvements to the ReConnect Program for the current round of applications. Collectively, these improvements increase the availability of funding in rural areas where residents and businesses lack access to affordable, high-speed internet. They include:

  • Allowing applicants to serve areas where at least 50% of households lack sufficient access to high-speed internet.
  • Adding a funding category for projects where 90% of households lack sufficient access to high-speed internet. For applications submitted under this category, no matching funds will be required.
  • Waiving the matching funds requirement for: (a) Alaska Native Corporations, (b) Tribal Governments, (c) projects proposing to provide service in colonias, (d) projects proposing to serve persistent poverty counties and (e) projects proposing to provide service in socially vulnerable communities.

Additionally, to ensure that rural households in need of internet service can afford it, all awardees under this funding round will be required to apply to participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP offers a discount of up to $30 per month towards internet service to qualifying low-income households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands. As a result, ACP-eligible households can receive internet at no cost and can sign up and check their eligibility at GetInternet.gov. The Department’s actions to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas are key components of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to help America build back better in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first round of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $656 million to create or improve high-speed internet access for rural customers across 33 states and territories. In the second round of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $850 million to create or improve high-speed internet access for rural customers across 37 states and territories. To date, USDA has announced $356 million in critical investments through the third round of ReConnect funding, for a total of $1.8 billion invested through the ReConnect Program since the program’s inception. More investments will be announced in the coming weeks.

Background: ReConnect Program

To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed internet service is not available at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development state office.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

September 8, 2022 - USDA ReConnect Program—Round 4 Workshop

September 15, 2022
8:00 AM—3:00 PM
Missouri Farm Bureau Center
701 South Country Club Dr
Jefferson City MO 65109


Missouri Farm Bureau will be hosting a
ReConnect Program funding workshop
for the Round 4 application process


EVENT WILL INCLUDE
Missouri DED Broadband Office: Funding Updates
USDA Rural Development: Application eligibilities, funding
overviews, and in-depth application process
Register Here

August 2nd, 2022 - ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to Open for Applications August 15

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is excited to announce that the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program will begin accepting applications on August 15, 2022. For more information, please visit the ARPA Broadband webpage and watch for future email announcements.

Governor Parson announced historic funding for broadband development last August. During the 2022 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly appropriated $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for a broadband infrastructure program and $15 million for a pole replacement fund to support the program. In total, these two programs will invest $265 million to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas of Missouri.

Broadband Timeline

New Resources for Applicants

In preparation for the launch of the application cycle, the Office of Broadband Development (OBD) has also posted the following new or updated resources to assist applicants throughout the process.

Revised Program Guidelines

The ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program Guidelines have been revised with a few clarifications.

Updates:

  • Added $100 million dollar cap per applicant
  • Added clarity to the contiguous nature standard  
  • Added grant administrative costs as an eligible expense
  • Updated the name of the grant portal 
  • Updated application open and close dates 
  • Updated Tax Clearance Certificate requirement 
  • Added flexibility to the Letter of Credit requirement

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

OBD developed a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to provide additional guidance to the common questions we have received.

ARPA Community Identifier Map

This newly created ARPA Community Identifier Map identifies areas of the state with higher than moderate, moderate, and low income areas as well as qualified census tracts.

Broadband Availability Map

The Broadband Availability Map has been updated to include RDOF and NTIA grant awards.

Budget Template

OBD created a budget template to assist applicants in preparing applications.

For any follow-up questions, feel free to contact OBD at 573-526-1028.

Learn More

July 26, 2022 - Student teams compete on plans to expand broadband in NW Missouri

Register now for free Aug. 20 event.

  • Published: Friday, July 22, 2022

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Teams of students from across the University of Missouri System are competing to develop plans for supplying access to affordable high-speed internet to residents and businesses in northwestern Missouri.

The teams will present their plans 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Mozingo Event Center, 1 Fall Drive, Maryville. The event, which will also be livestreamed, is free and open to the public.

“These students are taking on a real-world challenge — an actual community facing the problem of inadequate broadband access — and coming up with potential plans for workable public-private partnership (P3) models,” said Anthony Luppino, a member of the UM System Broadband Initiative(opens in new window) steering committee and director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

The three teams comprise students from various disciplines, including engineering, business, law and computer science. Prior to the presentations, a five-person panel will judge the proposals on their quality and feasibility.

Proposals must address strategies for increasing adoption of internet-based technologies and include a plan to finance expansion of the community’s broadband infrastructure. The teams’ plans may be used by the community in their broadband expansion efforts.

“The P3 Competition is a creative way to get the next generation of students to engage with communities to solve real-time challenges and improve economic opportunities, while building skills necessary in today’s globally competitive market,” said Kimberly Mildward, economic development planner with the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments.

Using an approach outlined in the UM System Broadband Initiative’s Digitally Connected Community Guide(opens in new window), the student teams hope to provide useful ideas for bringing affordable high-speed internet to the region and encouraging the use of broadband applications.

Attendance at the Aug. 20 event, in person or via livestream, is free. Register in advance at umurl.us/P3Event(opens in new window). On-site registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

The event and student competition are sponsored by the H&R Block Foundation and the City of Maryville.

Contacts for more information on the competition and broadband planning in northwestern Missouri:

Writer: Katherine Foran

July 15, 2022 - All 50 States, U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia Join Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all states and territories have confirmed their participation in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative announced in May. The Administration engaged in a comprehensive outreach and technical assistance campaign to ensure no state or territory was left behind. The $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program enables states and territories to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. A separate State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program supports developing digital skills training and workforce development plans. In total, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, funds $65 billion to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. “The Department of Commerce is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to the internet, which is vital for our economic future,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Beyond access, we also must enable meaningful internet use and provide people with tools to participate in education and training, access health care, and thrive in the digital economy. The Internet for All initiative will help states and territories accomplish both goals. I applaud America’s state and territory leaders who took these important first steps toward bringing equitable access to high-speed internet to the people they serve.” Digital Equity applications were due July 12th and all Letters of Intent to participate in the BEAD program were submitted ahead of the July 18th deadline. Hundreds of Tribal Nations have also submitted Letters of Intent to participate in the State Digital Equity Planning Grant program. Tribal entities can also apply for subgrants through their state or territory’s digital equity program. “Bringing high-speed, affordable Internet to all of America will require a whole-of-nation effort. Today America’s state and local leaders have spoken as one nation committed to bridging the digital divide,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Connecting America means leaving no community behind, and we are heartened by the bipartisan commitment to ensuring that all Americans have reliable, affordable Internet service and the skills needed to thrive in our modern digital world.” The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is the first step for states, territories, and Tribal Nations to develop their digital equity plans, with $1.44 billion funding available later to fund specific projects. NTIA will announce the allocation of the $60 million Equity Planning Grant Program funds by September 29, 2022. Initial planning fund applications for the BEAD program are due August 15, 2022. For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed internet programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.

July 6, 2022 - Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program

Final Guidelines Now Available

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has posted the final guidelines for its Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program. The program is funded via the State of Missouri’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This $265 million program will help communities and providers across the state invest in broadband infrastructure to bring access to unserved and underserved areas through competitive grants.

The Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program's guidelines were posted in late May and DED accepted public comment from May 31 through June 15. The final guidelines are now available here.

Our next step in this process will be to begin taking applications on, or around, July 15, 2022. Complete information is also available on DED's ARPA broadband webpage.

June 24, 2022 - Fixed Wireless Technologies and Their Suitability for Broadband Delivery

Written by Andrew L. Afflerbach, Ph.D., P.E.
CTC Technology & Energy

As state and local governments and their partners plan to invest billions of dollars in federal funding to build broadband infrastructure, choosing the best technology will have significant long-term implications. Federal policymakers have addressed this subject to some degree: For example, the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program’s notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) preferences fiber over fixed wireless.

To aid state and local policymakers, this report offers an engineering analysis of fixed-wireless technologies and their suitability for delivering broadband service in various environments. The report addresses a range of critical technology and cost considerations related to fixed-wireless networks—and, as a point of comparison, to fiber-to-the-premises networks.

At a high level, the report concludes the following:

  • Fixed-wireless technologies will continue to improve but will not match the performance of fiber-optic networks—primarily because the existing and potential bandwidth of fiber is thousands of times higher than wireless. Also, fixed-wireless networks have inherent capacity limitations that sharply limit the number of users on a network using a given amount of spectrum.
  • Fixed-wireless network coverage is adversely affected by line-of-sight obstructions (including buildings and seasonal foliage) and weather. While a fiber network can physically connect every household in a service area (and deliver predictable performance), it is significantly more complex for a fixed-wireless network to deliver a line of sight to every household in a service area.
  • Scalability is a critical challenge to fixed-wireless deployments, both technically and financially. A given amount of wireless spectrum is capable of supporting a given amount of network capacity. If the number of network users increases or users need more bandwidth, the network operator must increase the spectrum (which is both scarce and extremely expensive—and may not be possible), upgrade the technology, or add antennas. It is challenging to design a fixed wireless network that will provide sufficient, robust upstream and downstream capacity and reach all the addresses in unserved areas.
  • The fastest fixed-wireless technologies (such as those that use millimeter-wave spectrum) are effective in delivering short-range service to closely grouped households in urban and suburban settings. These technologies are largely unsuitable for serving rural communities because of the typical geographic dispersion of addresses and the lack of mounting structures (such as towers or building rooftops).
  • Fiber is sustainable, scalable, and renewable. It offers greater capacity, predictable performance, lower maintenance costs, and a longer technological lifetime than fixed-wireless technologies. Fiber service is not degraded by line-of-sight issues and is not affected by the capacity issues that constrain fixed wireless networks.

To further illustrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of fixed-wireless technologies, this report presents an analysis of capital and operating costs for a candidate fixed wireless network as compared to a candidate fiber optic network in the same real-world settings. The candidate networks were each designed to deliver complete coverage to unserved residential locations.

While the cost analysis illustrates that fiber’s upfront capital costs are higher than those of fixed wireless in many circumstances, the total cost of ownership over 30 years is comparable for fiber and fixed wireless.

Given the above analysis, fiber offers the greater long-term value as compared to fixed-wireless technologies because of fiber’s long life, capabilities, scalability, and flexibility. In the event that a state funds technologies other than fiber, such as in circumstances where the capital cost to build fiber is cost-prohibitive or the need for service cannot wait for fiber construction, the state should take steps to protect its investment—such as by requiring grantees to guarantee the long-term maintenance and operations of the fixed wireless network. This could be accomplished by requiring a 20-year performance and budget roadmap, and a viable strategy for full service where line-of-sight is a challenge.

This publication was commissioned by the Communications Workers of America and prepared by CTC Technology & Energy in the spring of 2022.

May 13, 2022 - Internet For All Initiative

JUST ANNOUNCED: Biden-Harris Administration Launches $45 Billion “Internet for All” Initiative to Bring Affordable, Reliable High-Speed Internet to Everyone in America Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo will visit Durham, N.C., to announce the launch of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative, which will invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade. The initiative will be administered and implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The Internet for All initiative will build internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide necessary technology to ensure that everyone in America – including communities of color, rural communities, and older Americans – has the access and skills they need to fully participate in today’s society.
The Internet for All programs launched today with three Notices of Funding Opportunity: Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion)  Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion)  State Digital Equity Act program ($1.5 billion)  
 
Want to learn more about these historic programs?

The Internet for All Webinar series connects key stakeholders to the critical information they need to help ensure the programs’ success.

 
JOIN NTIA FOR OUR INTERNET FOR ALL WEBINAR SERIES


The programs are funded through President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be administered and implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

For more information, please visit InternetForAll.gov
 

Apr 27, 2022 - UM’s Digitally Connected Community Guide tapped for national workshop

The UM System Broadband Initiative team will help train extension professionals to be effective partners in closing the digital divide in their states at a May 3-5 “Advancing Digital Access” workshop in St. Louis.

The National Digital Extension Education Team (NDEET) asked UM to provide a train-the-trainer program modeled on the Digitally Connected Community Guide, which was developed by the UM System Broadband Initiative. NDEET is based at Mississippi State University’s Southern Rural Development Center.

“It’s an honor that the Digitally Connected Community Guide was selected by NDEET to train extension colleagues across the nation,” said Alison Copeland, UM System deputy chief engagement officer. “This collaborative national training opportunity strengthens the impact of broadband expansion across rural America and other areas of need by bringing together extension professionals as co-learners and community catalysts.”

The Digitally Connected Community Guide is an online curriculum that offers a step-by-step process to engage local partners and residents to bring high-speed internet to more Missouri communities and increase internet adoption, digital literacy and the use of internet applications to improve health, education and economic opportunities.

Former MU Extension NW regional director Joe Lear will facilitate the workshop. Lear also is leading the Digitally Connected Community Guide process in the 11 Missouri counties that have adopted it to date.

More about the Digitally Connected Community Guide.

April 13, 2022 - Why digital human capital is important in community building

The pandemic revealed gaping disparities in broadband access and use in urban neighborhoods and rural communities alike. As residents were cut off from health information and telemedicine, students were unable to continue their studies online, citizens in need lacked access to government and nonprofit services, and furloughed employees were unable to search for work, the consequences weighed heavily in many communities.

See full article here

March 11, 2022 - Congress adds historic cyber incident reporting rule to massive $1.5 trillion package

Congress passed landmark legislation Thursday March 10, 2022 that mandates critical infrastructure providers and federal agencies promptly report cyberattacks and ransomware payments to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

March 10, 2022 - The Pew Charitable Trusts Launches Opportunity Broadband

WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts today launched Opportunity Broadband—an alliance of 5 companies, associations, and nonprofit organizations across the country working to ensure that our nation’s investment in universal, affordable broadband access strengthens communities and promotes equal participation in the economy.

Strong bipartisan support—illustrated by the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, and many other legislative actions at the federal and state levels—has finally put high-speed internet, and the skills and tools to use it, within reach for all Americans. The programs created by these initiatives will lead to opportunities for improved economic mobility, access to health care, educational opportunities, and much more. Pew formed Opportunity Broadband to help ensure that the nation can deliver on those promises by helping communities prepare to leverage connectivity, skills, and devices to realize the long-promised outcomes of digital equity.     

“Now is the time to ensure that the benefits of connectivity are available to all communities. Universally available and affordable broadband, access to devices, and digital literacy are the first—not the only—steps toward achieving that goal,” said Kathryn de Wit, project director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ broadband access initiative. “But no single organization can take those steps alone. Delivering on the promises of digital equity will require sustained focus, investment, and partnerships that cross sectors and industries, which is why we’re thrilled to have these organizations and businesses joining this important work.”

Along with The Pew Charitable Trusts, the founding members of Opportunity Broadband include Heartland Forward, the James H. and Mary B. Quello Center at Michigan State University, Small Business Majority, and the XR Association.

“We have been working diligently since 2019 to support innovation, economic growth, and a better quality of life in the middle of the country,” said Angie Cooper, chief program officer for Heartland Forward. “Access to affordable high-speed internet is integral to those aspirations—it’s necessary for everything from online learning and running a business to getting health care and maintaining social connections. And yet millions of residents across the heartland can’t get online. It can’t be overstated: With the federal and state resources that are being marshaled to expand broadband access, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to connect the heartland and the rest of America. We can’t afford to fail.”

One of Opportunity Broadband’s first steps is to identify the barriers between universal broadband access and technology-enabled advancements in health care, education, and economic opportunity. Over the next several months, the alliance will develop an action plan to help communities across the nation benefit from high-speed internet connections and intends to hold a conference in summer 2022.

For more information on Opportunity Broadband, visit opportunitybroadband.org and follow @Opportunity_BB on Twitter.

March 7, 2022 - DED Releases Request for Information to Assess Needs for ARPA-funded Projects Statewide

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) introduced a Request for Information (RFI) that will assess the need for potential projects utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The RFI is a brief, online form that will assist DED in crafting grant guidelines, help determine funding allocations, and support Missouri’s efforts to efficiently deploy ARPA funding. DED encourages all interested entities to complete the RFI by Friday, March 18.

Full details are provided in the RFI form, including descriptions of prospective grant programs, such as Community Revitalization, Cell Towers, Local Tourism, Digital Literacy, Industrial Site Development, and Workforce Development programs. Form completion likely requires no more than 15 minutes, while a separate form should be submitted for each project type.

DED plans to allocate ARPA funds for several grant programs supporting a wide range of priority areas, including businesses, nonprofits, community development, broadband, and more. Citizen feedback is critical to ensuring programs have the highest impact possible for Missourians. Entities eligible to complete the RFI include businesses, nonprofits, local governments, cellular carriers, libraries, education institutions, and more. For more on DED initiatives involving ARPA funding, visit ded.mo.gov/arpa. About the Missouri Department of Economic Development The Missouri Department of Economic Development works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life.

For more information about the department’s programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.

March 3, 2022 - Missouri receives $42.2 million federal grant through the NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program

The Department of Economic Development (DED) announced today that Missouri has been awarded a $42.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for broadband expansion. The funds received through the NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program will be used for projects benefiting more than 13,000 households in 12 Missouri counties: Boone, Butler, Jasper, Lincoln, Livingston, Marion, McDonald, Monroe, Pulaski, Shelby, St. Charles and St. Louis. “Broadband is a critical part of our state’s infrastructure, and this unprecedented grant award from the NTIA, combined with our state planned investments of over $400 million, will be transformative in getting Missourians connected,” Governor Mike Parson said. “These funds enable our state to benefit a diverse range of industries as we continue working to invest in broadband statewide. Internet access is a necessity in a modern economy, and we’re grateful for the Department of Commerce’s assistance with this key priority.” DED submitted its application for funding last year through the NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program, which supports broadband infrastructure deployment in unserved and rural areas. A three-stage review process determined Missouri would receive $42.2 million to supplement the state’s ongoing broadband expansion efforts.

Among states receiving grants, Missouri received the largest award, representing more than 15 percent of total funding available. “This funding awarded through the NTIA’s grant program is a tremendous opportunity for broadband expansion statewide,” said Director of Broadband Development BJ Tanksley. “A quality internet connection has never been more important, whether for work, health care, or education. I look forward to seeing these funds put to work alongside other initiatives aimed at ensuring every Missourian has access to high-speed internet.” “DED is immensely grateful for this assistance from our federal partners at the NTIA and Department of Commerce,” said Department of Economic Development Acting Director Maggie Kost. “This grant award will have a significant, positive impact for Missourians in need of high-speed internet. Expanding broadband access is a key economic priority, and these funds will go a long way in supporting our mission of helping all Missourians prosper.” Missouri’s NTIA grant award will be used in addition to significant pending investments being made through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support broadband access, adoption, and assistance statewide. For more information on the Office of Broadband Development, including the latest updates on expansion efforts and future funding opportunities, visit DED’s website. Across all project areas, more than 13,000 households, more than 300 businesses, and over 30 community organizations are expected to receive high-speed internet access as a result of the awarded funds. For project details, including locations and award amounts, click here. More information about the NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program can be found on the BroadbandUSA website.

February 17, 2022 - ReConnect Application Window Extended

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is in the process of extending the deadline for submission of applications for ReConnect funding under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) published on October 24, 2021, to Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 11:59 a.m. Eastern.

Notice of this deadline extension will be published in the Federal Register.

This extension will provide interested parties with an additional 15 days to submit an application for ReConnect funding.

Applications will not be accepted after March 9, 2022, 11:59 a.m. Eastern, until a new application opportunity has been opened with the publication of an additional FOA in the Federal Register.

February 16, 2022 - NDIA Announces $10 Million Grant from Google.org to Remove Digital Divide Roadblocks for Rural & Tribal Communities

National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) announced a multi-year, $10M grant from Google.org to create a National Digital Navigator Corps. The Corps will span 18 rural and tribal communities across the United States and impact thousands of people through one-on-one technology training and community outreach to connect people to the internet, appropriate devices, and training.

January 24, 2022 - Governor Parsons ARPA Plan

January 7, 2022 - Internet and the Pandemic in the Americas

The first health crisis of the digital era

December 2, 2021 - Is your state ready to handle the influx of federal funds for expanding broadband?

With recent funding for broadband being directed to individual states, how does each state stack up in it's ability to efficiently utilize those funds?

November 8th, 2021 - FCC COMMITS OVER $421 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING THROUGH EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND PROGRAM

The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it will commit over $421 million in the latest round of Emergency Connectivity
Fund announcements, bringing total program commitments to over $3.05 billion. The funding is supporting schools and libraries in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework and virtual learning, as schools and libraries continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

November 6th, 2021 - The Largest U.S. Investment in Broadband Deployment Ever

One aim of the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is to ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet service. Here we begin a multi-part series looking at the major broadband-related provisions of the legislation. First up: over $42 billion for broadband deployment grants to the states. We look at why new broadband maps are so critical to these efforts, what the grants can be used for, the process for states to receive the support, and a timeline moving forward. 

November 5th, 2021 - Historic Investment in Broadband

Today marks a historic moment for all Americans with the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, that includes an enormous $65B investment for broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and adoption by in-need consumers.

November 3, 2021 - Bluebird Network Acquires New, Diverse Fiber Route Over the Mississippi River

November 2, 2021 - States — This is Your Moment for Broadband!

October 12, 2021 - FCC COMMITS OVER $1.1 BILLION IN SECOND FUNDING WAVE OF EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND PROGRAM, FUNDING OVER 2.4 MILLION DEVICES AND 1.9 MILLION BROADBAND CONNECTIONS

The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is committing $1,159,681,350.34 for 2,471 schools, 205 libraries, and 26 consortia that applied for support from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Combined with the first funding wave, students, school staff and library patrons in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands will receive access to the devices and broadband connectivity they need to support their off-premises educational needs.

September 29, 2021 - FCC OPENS SECOND FILING WINDOW FOR EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND TO HELP CLOSE HOMEWORK GAP

Starting Today, Schools and Libraries Will Have 15 Days to Apply for Emergency Connectivity Fund Support

September 20, 2021 - New Broadband Technology Launched in Turney, MO

More than 30 Clinton County residents in the Village of Turney celebrated the launch of the much-anticipated new Internet technology experiment on Thurs., Sept. 17, 2021.

September 12, 2021 - FCC is Taking Steps to Accurately Map Locations That Lack Access

While most Americans have broadband internet access, many do not—a gap known as the digital divide. Federal efforts to bridge it rely on data FCC collects from broadband providers. We have raised concerns that this data overstates service.

September 8, 2021 - MetroNet to Make O’Fallon a Gigabit City

MetroNet announced plans to build an advanced fiber-optic network in O’Fallon, bringing gigabit-speed internet service to residents and businesses in the city for the first time. MetroNet, the nation’s largest independently owned 100 percent fiber-optic provider, will fully fund the construction through a multi-million dollar investment. MetroNet expects construction to begin in O’Fallon next year, with the first customers coming online as neighborhood buildouts are completed.

August 25, 2021 - FCC ANNOUNCES OVER $5 BILLION IN FUNDING REQUESTS
RECEIVED IN EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND PROGRAM

The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it has received requests for $5.137 billion to fund 9.1 million connected devices and 5.4 million broadband connections as part of the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

August 19, 2021 - Governor Parson Announces $400 Million Plan to Improve Broadband Infrastructure in Missouri

During a press conference at the Missouri State Fair hosted by the Missouri Farm Bureau, Governor Mike Parson announced plans to deploy more than $400 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase broadband internet access, adoption, and assistance statewide

August 11, 2021 - What the $65B broadband service plan will do

The Senate’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan includes a $65 billion investment in broadband that the White House says will “deliver reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to every household.”

August 4, 2021 - Here’s What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Spending Bill

State and local governments are set to receive billions if the legislation passes, including funding to support cybersecurity, broadband, transit, roads, water and more. Here are the details.

July 28, 2021 - Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal: FACT SHEET

The President and the bipartisan group announced agreement on the details of a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure, which will be taken up in the Senate for consideration. In total, the deal includes $550 billion in new federal investment in America’s infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, create good jobs, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just.

June 29, 2021 - FCC LAUNCHES COUNTRY’S LARGEST EFFORT TO CLOSE HOMEWORK GAP

Today, FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced schools and libraries can now begin to file applications for the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund, the agency’s latest effort to connect Americans.

June 25, 2021 - Economic Benefits of Expanding Broadband in Select Missouri Counties

This study estimated the 10-year economic benefits that would result from expanding fixed broadband adoption in three Missouri counties that vary in their existing adoption levels and population size: Bollinger, Henry and Nodaway. Fixed broadband includes fiberoptic, cable, or DSL (digital subscriber line) technologies considered more reliable that other broadband connections.

June 25, 2021 - FCC, NTIA AND USDA ANNOUNCE INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT TO COORDINATE BROADBAND FUNDING DEPLOYMENT

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), today announced an interagency agreement to share information about and coordinate the distribution of federal broadband deployment funds.

June 1, 2021 - The American Rescue Plan is the Broadband Down Payment the Country Needs

It’s no longer a debate: Broadband is essential infrastructure. And no essential infrastructure should have the kinds of gaps we see within the broadband sector.

May 10, 2021 - The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Facts Sheet

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to provide $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments. Treasury also released details on how these funds can be used to respond to acute pandemic response needs, fill revenue shortfalls among these governments, and support the communities and populations hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis. With the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, eligible jurisdictions will be able to access this funding in the coming days to address these needs.

March 31, 2021 - Clinton County Selected to Test New Broadband Technology

A small town in northwestern Missouri is one of seven communities in the nation testing experimental technology that could expand rural access to high-speed internet and the opportunities that can bring.

Missouri University of Science and Technology is leading a team that has been awarded a one-year, $300,000 grant through the technology nonprofit US Ignite’s Project OVERCOME.

March 22, 2021 - FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program – Summary

On February 25th, the FCC unanimously adopted a Report and Order that established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This is a new program and information is being hastily compiled and distribute. This document represents the best understanding of the program possible at this time.

March 1st, 2021 - FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Fact Sheet

On February 25th, the FCC unanimously adopted a Report and Order that established the Emergency
Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet
for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit
Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

February 26, 2021 - USDA Invests $1.6 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Healthcare Access in Missouri

These projects will allow three Missouri entities to establish or expand telemedicine networks that will ultimately improve rural Missourians’ access to much-needed, close to home, quality healthcare,” said Acting State Director Thomas. “These investments by the Biden administration are a prime example of Rural Development’s mission—improving the quality of life for rural Americans

February 25, 2021 - FCC ADOPTS REPORT AND ORDER TO IMPLEMENT EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT PROGRAM

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households. Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.

February 17th, 2021 - FBA, NTCA Question Starlink RDOF Viability

Fiber Broadband Association and NTCA called into question whether the Starlink satellite constellation
that Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is developing will be able to meet the service provision commitments it made as a winning bidder in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. FBA
and NTCA urged the FCC to carefully scrutinize all auction winners’ longform applications.

February 10, 2021 - Public-Private Collaboration Imperative to Deliver Modern Connectivity

Connectivity is a necessity in today’s digital world. Economic opportunity, educational advancement, health and safety, social mobility, and civic engagement are increasingly tied to the widespread availability of high-speed digital communication. Broadband is often discussed as a “common good,” which is defined as something that a community provides to all members in order to fulfill a collective obligation to care for certain interests that all members have in common. Examples of common goods include
roadways, public safety services, a judicial system, public schools, parks, cultural institutions, and public transportation, as well as clean air and water.

December 7, 2020 - Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction to Expand Broadband to over 10 Million Rural Americans

More than $346 million was earmarked to expand Missouri’s rural broadband infrastructure, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Monday.

The funds come from the commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a $20 billion effort to bring broadband services to rural homes and small businesses.

More than 199,000 unserved Missouri homes and businesses are set to receive access to the internet at speeds averaging 25 megabytes per second (MBPS) through the fund, according to the commission.

November 30, 2020 - Broadband Brings Varied Economic Impacts

During a National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar, speakers discussed how broadband organizations can influence economic development projects, job numbers, local revenues and more. Read more.

November 1, 2020 - Reimagining Rural Policy: Organizing Federal Assistance to Maximize Rural Prosperity

The federal programs and tools available today to help generate social and economic development in rural communities serve as a reminder of active and broad federal involvement in the 20th century, and the possibilities for federal leadership to help rural communities meet the current moment. Yet they are outdated, fragmented, and incoherent.

October 22, 2020 - Trump Administration Invests $91.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Missouri

The Trump Administration announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91.5 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Missouri. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.

October 5, 2020 - COVID-19 School Response Dashboard

This dashboard may be relevant for local education decision makers dealing with COVID and trying to figure out whether to continue to allocate resources to in home online learning. Take a look at the results over a wide range of schooling options and compare results. Also, consider adding information for your school if you want to participate.

September 17, 2020 - The Farms of the Future Hinge on High-Speed Internet

Farms could contribute billions more dollars to the U.S. economy with the help of precision agriculture technology, but this can’t happen without more broadband, said experts during a National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar yesterday.

September 15, 2020 - Department of Agriculture Rules and Regulations – USDA Program to Provide Grant/Loan Funding for up to 10% of the Cost of Broadband for Rural Farms and Businesses

The Rural Utilities Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Rural Housing Service, agencies that comprise the Rural Development Mission Area within the United States Department of Agriculture, are issuing this final rule to establish the authority authorized by Section 6210 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which will assist rural families and small businesses in gaining access to broadband service by permitting recipients of a loan, grant, or loan guarantee from RD to use up to 10 percent of the amount provided to construct broadband infrastructure in areas not served by minimum acceptable level of broadband service.

September 10, 2020 - How Broadband Internet Could be Affordable and Accessible for Everyone

Give everybody the internet. We need to get the internet to everyone in America. Here’s what it would take to do it.

August 24, 2020 - America’s Moral Obligation for Universal Broadband

Too little progress has been made to ensure that high-speed Internet is available to all. As the pandemic has demonstrated, far too many still don't have what they need to function in a virtual world.

August 19, 2020 - Request For Qualifications – Phase 1: Wireline and Wireless Internet Access For Students

In Phase 1 Kansas City, MO seeks to connect students from low-income households to the Internet this school year to facilitate participation in distance learning programs implemented by the school districts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 14, 2020 - Cities Lose the Legal Battle Against FCC 5G Policies

A battle between dozens of city governments and some of the world's largest wireless carriers
over the future of 5G infrastructure appears to have ended with a decisive victory for the
telecom companies.

July 21, 2020 - Bridging the Digital Divide in the COVID-19 ERA: A Virtual Fireside Chat

Earlier this month [July 21], Marshall Stewart joined federal, state and Kansas City leaders online for a panel discussion, co-presented by the Urban League of Kansas City's COVID-19 Collective Impact Collaborative and the Kansas City Public Library.

Panelists discussed the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the pervasive inequities of the digital divide. They examined the economic, educational, and social gulf between those who have computers and online access and those who do not – and the impact that has particularly on Black Americans and other disadvantaged populations in Kansas City and across the country. All agreed there is urgent need for comprehensive and effective solutions to ensure our nation’s continuing competitiveness and opportunities to prosper for all.

Other participants included Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks (a native of Kansas City), Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Third District Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell and Kansas City Public Library Deputy Director Carrie Coogan, who is part of the steering council of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion and a member National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s board of directors.

The blue-ribbon group assessed local and national efforts to ensure that homes and individuals across the city, state, and nation have broadband access — as much a household necessity in today’s technology-driven society as water, gas, and electricity.

Moderators were Gwendolyn Grant, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and Clint Odom, the National Urban League’s senior vice president for policy and advocacy and executive director of the NUL’s Washington bureau. The session also featured a message from South Carolina Rep. and U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn.

July, 2020 - Disconnected: Seven Lessons on Fixing the Digital Divide

Communities across the country are in an economic race. To compete, they need employers and qualified workers, both of which require a robust information- and knowledge-sharing infrastructure. While some communities are ahead of the pack, others are falling far behind.
Broadband is a critical component in this economic race, allowing businesses large and small to reach customers, farmers to deploy resource-saving technologies, and workers to learn critical job skills.

July, 2020 - DEEDP Broadband Research

Beginning in mid-2017, DEEDP endeavored to answer several questions arising surrounding broadband and its impact on rural Missouri. Key questions included broadband’s impact on out-migration and in-migration, the impact of low services, slow speed broadband and relatively high prices compared to areas with fiber’s high-speed broadband and low prices. In the analysis the economic and social impact of high-speed broadband was both qualitatively and quantitatively presented in an easy to understand format designed for policy makers and business executives.

July 13, 2020 - July 8th, Workshop Report Live Stream

On Wednesday, experts from all four University of Missouri System universities and MU Extension unveiled a plan to expand broadband access in a rural pilot community. In a public webinar, the UM System Broadband Leadership Team offered highlights of its report. 

July 6, 2020 - BRINGING BROADBAND TO A MISSOURI COMMUNITY

On June 1, 2020, nearly one hundred individuals in locations throughout Missouri and
across the United States gathered “online” to help develop a “Plan” to bring broadband to a
Missouri community -- Bollinger County.

July 2, 2020 - Governor Parson directs nearly $50 million in relief funds to aid in broadband expansion and COVID-19 response

Governor Parson announced nearly $50 million to support broadband expansion across Missouri, including support directed at telehealth and education. The Governor also signed house bill 1768, which expands the state’s existing Missouri Broadband Grant Program until 2027.

June 21, 2020 - Commentary: Broadband is a necessary utility. Let’s treat it like one

There was a time when telephone lines did not span the U.S., proudly marking the landscape in nearly every conceivable populated area. But telephones, as with refrigerators and light bulbs before them, soon became essential.

June 10, 2020 - Mississippi’s ‘Broadband Revolution’ Picks Up Speed

In 2018, Mississippi ranked near the bottom of the country in terms of broadband access. Today, evidence suggests a 2019 law could forever change the status quo of high-speed Internet in rural Mississippi.

May 21, 2020 - Microsoft Implores Congress: Fund Broadband Connectivity

Company president Brad Smith urges lawmakers to include broadband expansion funding as part of a coronavirus stimulus package. As millions are working and studying from home, Internet connectivity is no longer an option.

May 12, 2020 - Broadband Internet Access Is a Social Determinant of Health!

Now, more than ever, broadband Internet access (BIA) must be recognized as a social determinant of health. Disparities in access should be treated as a public health issue because they affect “the health of people and communities where they live, learn, work and play.”

April, 2019 - A Case For Rural Broadband

Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies

April 8, 2020 - Pandemic Forces Local Governments’ Hands into Era of Virtual Public Meetings

Local governments have a legal obligation to keep conducting business and engaging the public during the global pandemic, but there can often be more to virtual public meetings than meets the eye.

April 2, 2020 - Coronavirus Has Potential to Reshape Government Technology

The coronavirus crisis has made it clear that technology is essential to continuity of government. CIOs may see more of their wish lists fulfilled, but investing in IT will be tough with budgets heading south.

March 19, 2020 - Alabama Lawmaker Calls for Federal Emergency Broadband Funds

Describing rural Americans as "feeling abandoned and desperately in need of help," Rep. Robert Aderholt has asked the Trump administration to address connectivity that enables remote education and health services.

February 12, 2020 - MidSouth Electric Co-op Partners with Conexon to Launch Broadband Network to Serve Over 25,000 Homes and Businesses

Building a fiber-to-the-home network will deliver world-class, high-speed communications for co-op members and enhance electrical infrastructure with smart grid capabilities.

February 12, 2020 - Bill Offers $400M for State, Local Government Cybersecurity

The just-introduced bipartisan bill would send the money to state and local governments through the Department of Homeland Security, which would also create a new federal strategy for cybersecurity.

February 8, 2020 - The Risks and Rewards of Municipal Broadband

Broadband is the most important infrastructure investment a community can make,especially as a new generation of connection is upon us: ultra-broadband.

February 3, 2020 - State of the States 2020: Broadband Is Critical Infrastructure

The nation’s governors are delving into their varied policy priorities for the coming year, but a new shared reality is emerging: Governors are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the Internet.

January 30, 2020 - FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) – Summary

This is a single-page summary of the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

January 31,2020 - BroadbandUSA: Guide to Federal Funding of Broadband Projects

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) BroadbandUSA program has compiled this guide of federal funding programs for broadband-related projects. BroadbandUSA will also update this guide periodically, so be sure to obtain the latest version at: http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/files/broadband_fed_funding_guide.pdf.NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program is dedicated to helping communities achieve their broadband goals and working with you to determine if funding is available to meet a specific community’s needs. If you have additional questions about the information contained in this guide, please contact us at broadbandusa@ntia.doc.gov or 202-482-2048.

November, 13 2019 - Rural Businesses Limited by Lack of Broadband

Poor broadband service is not uncommon for the Hermitage area or the county. Hickory County ranks
92nd out of 115 in broadband speed in Missouri counties, according to data from the Federal
Communications Commission, or FCC.

April, 04 2022 - Conquering the St. Louis Digital Divide:

New Report Outlines Steps Necessary to Bridge the Gap

To bridge the digital divide in St. Louis City and County, the region must address service and device affordability, coverage and quality gaps within its technical infrastructure, and provide digital training and support for many, according to a new report on the subject issued today. It was commissioned by the St. Louis Community Foundation and the Regional Business Council (RBC) and prepared by the Center for Civic Research and Innovation (CCRI) and accounting firm EY (Ernst & Young). Read more here.

Goodwill Community Foundation

The Goodwill Community Foundation provides teaching tips and tutorials for online and off-line instruction, lesson videos, printable lesson materials, and links to other online learning resources are available.
https://edu.gcfglobal/en/