This is a great big ‘thank you” to MU Extension staff and faculty in 34 counties who helped 186 people submit challenges to the Federal Communications Commission broadband coverage maps.

The maps will be used to calculate Missouri’s share of $42.45 billion in federal funds to expand access and use in every community. Their accuracy is vital.

The state Office of Broadband Development estimates the additional dollar value from those 186 challenges alone at $810,000, said Alison Copeland, UM System deputy chief engagement officer.

A special shout-out goes to Knox, Cole, Cape Girardeau, Gentry, Johnson, Hickory, Vernon and Ste. Francois counties for organizing challenge events. The UM System Broadband Initiative and state Office of Broadband Development also appreciated that several counties flagged issues with the process and maps, Copeland said. This online tool aims to offer a comprehensive statewide inventory of public computers and Wi-Fi access locations as well as digital resources such as computer classes, one-on-one technical assistance centers and adult/workforce education programs. Please share this information in your communities, too!