Graves holds Rural Broadband Roundtable
Savannah, MO – On Tuesday, April 23rd, Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06) held a roundtable at United Electric Cooperative in Savannah, MO, to discuss rural broadband with North Missouri stakeholders.
“I believe that rural broadband is one of the most critical issues facing North Missouri,” said Graves. “High-speed broadband access is the 21st century version of rural electricity. I appreciate the feedback I received and the hard work that is being done on a local and state level to address this critical issue. I’ll continue working to ensure that the federal government is helping, and not hindering, the expansion of broadband service in rural America.”
Stakeholder discussion centered around FCC broadband connectivity mapping issues in North Missouri and its effect on who receives funding. Other major issues identified at the meeting included ensuring that companies who receive federal funding for broadband expansion can provide adequate speeds as promised, as well as what local entities are doing to help in the expansion of rural broadband.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last week that applications are now being accepted for the ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program. Congress appropriated $600 million for the grant and low-interest loan program which was double the funding that was previously available for broadband programs. The funds will enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. More information can be found at https://www.usda.gov/reconnect.
HERE IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
Jim Bagley, CEO, United Electric/United Fiber: “We appreciate the support that Congressman Graves has shown us in our rural broadband initiative. His commitment to bringing broadband internet to the rural population is very important for our continued success at United Fiber.”
Kat Morgan, NWMO Roundtable and Economic Development Director for the City of Albany: “Tuesday’s regional broadband meeting was an excellent opportunity to learn where we are regarding deploying fiber and the collaboration happening among the providers present. Our rural communities are struggling without access to reliable, affordable broadband. I believe Missouri is positioned to utilize funding in the best possible way by concentrating on the unserved regions first and eventually connecting all of us with those who currently have access to broadband.”
Janie Dunning, Broadband Consultant, Missouri Farm Bureau: “Congressman Graves represents a rural district that will benefit a great deal from access to affordable broadband. We appreciate his leadership and share his belief this technology will provide new opportunities to strengthen rural communities.”
In addition to United Electric Cooperative, the NWMO Roundtable, and Missouri Farm Bureau, officials from the Missouri Department of Economic Development - Broadband Office, Ralls County Electric Co-op, the Andrew County Commission, Nodaway County Economic Development, Mosaic Life Care, NW Electric Power, NWMO Regional Council, Grundy County Electric Co-op, Atchison-Holt Electric Co-op, Platte-Clay Electric Co-op, the City of Savannah, Savannah Chamber of Commerce, Avenue City School District, MO-KAN RPC, USDA Rural Development, and the University of Missouri were also in attendance.