Governor Jay Nixon announced last week that more money would be coming from the US Department of Agriculture in support of the state’s rural broadband initiative, known as MOBroadband Now.
Socket Telecom will use $23.7 million to bring fiber optic to homes in Boone and Callaway Counties, Utopian Wireless will get $249,000 for expansion in Benton County, and Windstream Corporation will get $10.3 million for working portions of Morgan and Miller Counties.
Governor Nixon says the broadband is needed for three reasons.
“First of all you would have to have the capacity to get and move massive amounts of information if you’re going to compete in international economy and sell your goods in many areas,” said Nixon.
Nixon says the desire to keep rural areas growing also comes into play.
“Number two, if kids don’t have access to this they know their neighbors and friends in the cities do. They’ll graduate from high school and they’ll head to Kansas City or St. Louis and you won’t see them again. We believe there’s a strong economy in rural Missouri and this will provide those younger folks not only the education, but let’s not kid ourselves, the entertainment and the access to things. That’s how they interact with each other.”
Nixon says the most crucial need is for health information technology sharing.
“As we move forward and help information exchange, help information technology if we move forward in distance capacity for radiology, it’s going to be important to get cost effective health care that rural health clinics have access to.”