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Attention to internet access is ramping up across both sides of state line

Broadband access
Posted at 6:40 AM, Apr 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The state of Missouri needs your help in bringing internet access to those who need it most.

The state got $1.7 billion through the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to help bring broadband to areas without access. The BEAD State Challenge Program is meant to update the Missouri Broadband Map, which helps the state make funding decisions.

Challengers are those who qualify — like local governments, nonprofits or internet service providers — who can provide information on locations that should or should not be available for funding. Members of the public can then submit evidence to help support these challenges. As evidence is submitted, the public map will be update to show a location that is challenged. The challenge process closes on May 8 before the 30-day rebuttal process begins.

Attention to broadband issues and access is growing across the Kansas City-area. Just last Friday, the city of Spring Hill announced it now has full broadband access within city limits through Comcast.

“We were one of the slowest areas in the country for speed on Internet," Spring Hill Mayor Joe Berkey said. “It affected school when kids had to do stuff from home, it affected businesses coming into town because they couldn’t get that broadband speed they were looking for, and just homeowners, it created a lot of issues for especially people working from home.”

It's why drawing attention to areas that need it most is so crucial.

April will also be the last fully-funded month of the Affordable Connectivity Program, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP, helps low-income families and individuals pay for access to the internet.

The White House said the state of Kansas has received $71,184,253 benefiting 133,746 households. Over the life of the program, Missouri received $217,858,016, which helped 395,504 households.