New state office aims to bring broadband to rural Missouri

Missouri plans to open a new office focused on bringing high-speed internet to rural communities.

The state’s Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint initiative last week as part of a larger plan to address the needs of rural communities in the state.

The Office of Broadband will help communities where only expensive or low-quality broadband exists to navigate federal programs to bring better broadband, according to Chris Chinn, director of the state’s Department of Agriculture.

About 20 percent of Missourians lacked access to high-speed internet as of 2016, according to a Federal Communications Commission report. That number more than triples in rural areas, where 61 percent of people have no broadband access.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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