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FCC project will bring high-speed internet to rural Missouri, Kansas

Internet access
Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 23:38:54-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new project will help bridge the rural digital divide and bring high-speed internet to thousands of people in rural Missouri and Kansas.

The FCC awarded 17 companies in Missouri and 12 companies in Kansas grants from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to take on the project.

Charter Communications, which includes Spectrum, was awarded the most locations and will provide internet to 61,000 locations in Missouri.

"This could be huge for our community," Tracy Brantner with the Johnson County (Missouri) Economic Development Corporation said. "It's such a positive impact on Johnson County. Citizens are able to access the digital network they weren't able to access before."

Johnson County, Missouri, is on the list along with parts of Clay, Cass, Henry and Lafayette counties in Missouri.

Brantner said the pandemic highlighted the need for reliable internet.

"When parents had to go home and do homeschool, when employees had to go home and do remote work, they did the best they could," Brantner said. "They did it by hot spots."

But it presents a challenge. While some people have enjoyed remote work, the lack of reliable broadband internet has proven troublesome for others.

"My fiance actually works from home and he hates our internet because it's so spotty and he's having hard time with it," Kingsville resident Ashley Tullock said. "Actually, today it's been out three times."

A Pew Research Center survey in 2018 showed that 58% of rural residents listed access to fast internet connections as a problem.

The rollout of the project is still in the beginning phases. Internet providers must complete the build-out within six years.