State of Missouri and MARC partner to help connect all residents to reliable, high-speed internet

Oct 25, 2022
| Posted in
children learning in class using laptops

The Mid-America Regional Council and the Missouri Office of Broadband Development are hosting two listening sessions in November to hear from local officials, residents and other stakeholders on the need for investment in broadband and digital access services in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties.  The meetings will take place on:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Mid-Continent Public Library located at 12930 Booth Lane in Grandview, Missouri
  • Thursday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mid-Continent Public Library located at 1665 S. Withers Road in Liberty, Missouri 

State officials are seeking feedback on how Missouri should spend $500 million in new federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA); the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program; and the Digital Equity Act program.

“All across the state, communities struggle when they cannot take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy,” said BJ Tanksley, director of the state’s Office of Broadband Development. “We understand that these opportunities will look different in different parts of the state. In order to design programs that address the challenges in your area, we need to hear from you.”

The BEAD program represents an investment in broadband infrastructure across the state. The DEA program addresses non-infrastructure barriers to getting online, such as the inability to afford internet service and devices or the lack of digital skills. The feedback from the listening sessions will be incorporated into the state’s plans for BEAD and DEA funds.  

During the meetings, representatives from the state and the University of Missouri will share information that cities and counties can take to prepare for the broadband funding opportunities. And state officials want to hear from attendees about the situation in their communities, such as the specific challenges faced by residents who struggle to access the internet and the local resources and strategies available to help overcome them. 

“The Kansas City region is a combination of urban, suburban and rural places, with a diverse population. There are needs for both infrastructure and services, which are important to advancing our region’s quality of life, economic development and equity,” said Marlene Nagel, MARC’s community development director. 
In addition, MARC, KC Rising and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City are partnering on a regional analysis of infrastructure needs and digital equity services. The involved partners will share information on this work during the meetings.

Visit the state’s website to learn more about the Connecting All Missourians initiative. The Kansas City region’s broadband planning work is available on MARC’s website