Senator Roy Blunt will be in the Lake Region this weekend.

He’s making a few stops after delivering a commencement speech today and Saturday at Missouri S&T in Rolla.

Blunt plans to visit the cities of Vienna and Freeburg on Saturday to Discuss Rural Broadband progress for the communities.

Those events are open to the public and take place at 1:30pm at the Maries County Courthouse in Vienna and again at 2:30pm at the Freeburg City hall.

Blunt says despite progress being made on a local and federal level, nearly one-third of rural Missourians still don’t have access to high-speed internet.

The recently-enacted government funding bill includes $486.6 million for the ReConnect Pilot Program.

The program targets areas that currently lack access to broadband and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure.

Missouri was also recently awarded $42 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program.

This award will be paired with $400 million in federal funding that Missouri has allocated toward broadband investment.

 

More info:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) will deliver commencement addresses at Missouri S&T in Rolla tomorrow, Friday, May 13, and on Saturday, May 14.

Both commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed here: https://www.facebook.com/MissouriSandT and further information is available here.

Saturday May 14th:

1:30 p.m. CT Blunt to Discuss Rural Broadband, Provide Washington Update in Vienna
Maries County Courthouse
211 4th Street
Vienna, MO 65582
2:30 p.m. CT Blunt to Discuss Rural Broadband, Provide Washington Update in Freeburg
Freeburg City Hall
304 South Highway 63
Freeburg, MO 65035

Rural Broadband:

As a member of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees, one of Blunt’s top priorities has been expanding access to broadband. While progress has been made to end the digital divide, nearly one-third of rural Missourians still don’t have access to high speed internet.

The recently-enacted government funding bill includes $486.6 million for the ReConnect Pilot Program. The program targets areas that currently lack access to broadband and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure. Blunt has advocated for the ReConnect Program which has provided nearly $200 million in funding to Missouri since 2019, amounting to about 20% of all the support provided nationwide. The bill also includes $62.5 million for Distance Learning/Telemedicine and Broadband grants that will help expand access to modern, high-speed internet services in rural areas.

Missouri was also recently awarded $42 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program, the largest state-wide award from that program, representing more than 15 percent of total funding available. This award will be paired with $400 million in federal funding that Missouri has allocated toward broadband investment. Missouri broadband providers were also awarded $346 million in the Federal Communications Commission’s 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. These investments are in addition to $65 billion in broadband funding that Congress allocated through the Blunt-backed 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.