Mid-Missouri electric cooperatives to receive $24 million to expand rural broadband

The Federal Communications Commission is granting two Missouri electric cooperatives a total of $24.1 million over 10 years to expand broadband internet in rural areas, the agency announced Monday. Nearly 10,000 locations in Missouri are set to gain access through the effort.

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative in Tipton will receive nearly $22 million to expand its Co-Mo Connect service to about 8,400 new locations. In addition, Callabyte Technology, which is part of Callaway Electric Cooperative in Fulton, will get more than $2 million in funds to provide broadband to about 1,500 rural locations.

Customers of both companies will receive a minimum download speed of 1 Gbps and upload speed of 500 Mbps.

Overall, the FCC granted $166.8 million to expand broadband services in 22 states over the next decade. It’s part of phase two of the Connect America Fund Auction. Providers will begin receiving funding this month.

Part of the agreement is that the providers connect service to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won within three years, according to the release. The building must increase by 20% in each subsequent year until the complete building is reached at the end of the sixth year.

The FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report showed that around 1 million Missourians still don’t have access to high-speed internet, which is defined as download speeds of at least 25 mpbs and upload speeds of at least 3 mbps. Nationwide, more than 24 million people lack broadband access.

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