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Broadband Development

Municipal utilities are well positioned to expand broadband connectivity to their customers, especially with their local expertise, resources, and new funding opportunities. Mark your calendars for upcoming training for applying for federal and state funds.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020
ReConnect Pilot Program
9:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.   
USDA Rural Development State Office
601 Business Loop 70 W, Suite 232, Columbia, MO 65203
(located within Parkade Plaza)



Federal Funding

Monies to jump-start local efforts to expand broadband are available from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in an offering of up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Applications for the ReConnect Program monies are due May 31, 2019, or later. There are several training opportunities to help applicants through the funding process.


One of the essential goals of the ReConnect Program is to expand broadband service to rural areas without sufficient broadband access, defined as 10 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. The first round of applicants has three separate funding categories to choose from: 100 percent (%) loan, 50% loan / 50% grant, or 100% grant. Given the varying closing dates for each funding type, applicants will be limited to one application during this Funding Opportunity Announcement.


To be eligible for a 100% loan or 50% loan / 50% grant, the proposed funded service area in an application must be in a rural area where 90% of the households do not have sufficient broadband access. To be eligible for a 100% grant, the proposed funded service area in an application must be in a rural area where 100% of the households do not have sufficient broadband access. No matter which funding type the applicant requests, the proposed network must be capable of providing service to every premise in the proposed funded service area at a speed of at minimum, 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.


Helpful links:

For more information about the ReConnect Program, go to

An application training video can be found here:

NTIA Broadband Planning Toolkit – this will be the recommended toolkit for communities, counties, and regions as they organize their broadband efforts

American Broadband Initiative – report from the White House on the federal government’s efforts to accelerate broadband

US Department of Interior – JOEL Map – GIS map showing communications towers on federal lands

US Treasury – Office of the Comptroller – guidance for financial institutions and financing broadband deployment


State of Missouri Funding

Last year, the State of Missouri created a new state Broadband Development Office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet. On March 1, the state’s Broadband Development Office hosted a “Missouri Broadband Provider Summit” in St. Louis. Partners to help with broadband development, like Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, reviewed their efforts to assist Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Recipients of previous rural broadband development funding reviewed their projects. The final draft of Missouri’s Broadband Plan was presented.


MPUA members had an early glimpse of Missouri’s Broadband Plan at the December MAMU board meeting with a presentation by Tim Arbeiter, Director of Broadband Development with the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Goals, guiding principles, priority areas, infrastructure buildout and access, partnership development, sector strategies, education and awareness strategies, plus administrative and regulatory strategies are all covered in the plan. The major initiatives underway are a toolkit, survey, outreach, and digital literacy.


Governor Parson attended the Broadband Development Provider Summit to echo the state’s support for bringing rural areas’ broadband access up to speed. He emphasized the importance to our future economy but also providing jobs with a trained workforce to meet growing technical needs. The Missouri Legislature created the Missouri Rural Broadband Development Fund during last year’s session. Governor Mike Parson proposed in his 2020 budget recommendations to the legislature $5 million to jump-start these efforts.


MPUA will monitor the development of these funding opportunities. Questions? Call or email the MPUA office at (573) 445-3279 or email us at

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