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The state of Missouri and a rural electric cooperative in Marshfield are working together to secure federal funding for rural broadband internet. Governor Jay Nixon was in Marshfield today to talk about the initiative. Sho-Me Technologies is partnering with the state to apply for more than $142 million in federal recovery funds. The money would expand broadband internet access in rural parts of Missouri. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.
Right now, more than 20 percent of the state’s population does NOT have access to broadband internet service. The federal funding that Sho-Me Technologies and the state are requesting would pay for the installation of 2,500 miles of fiber-optic cable. It would also fund the construction of 200 new broadband towers. The state has agreed to kick in more than $25 million in matching funds and Sho-Me Technologies has said it will contribute more than $8 million in fiber lines along the new network. This project would bring broadband internet into communities but it would be up to local utility and cable companies to ensure homes and businesses have direct access by laying additional fiber lines. A decision by the federal government on this application for funds is expected in December.