Aug 28 2018

Blunt-Backed FCC Program to Invest $255 Million to Expand Broadband in Rural Missouri

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, today commended the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) announcement that Missouri will receive $254,773,118 to expand rural broadband. The resources were allocated through the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II) auction, which will distribute nearly $1.5 billion to 45 states over the next 10 years to preserve and expand mobile coverage to rural areas. Missouri secured about 17 percent of the total amount awarded nationwide, the most of any state.

“Around half of rural Missourians don’t have access to high-speed broadband internet, making it harder for them to compete and succeed,” said Blunt. “Making sure rural Missourians have access to broadband will improve the quality of life and enhance economic opportunities, whether it’s a farmer utilizing precision agriculture, a doctor treating patients through telemedicine, or a student studying for final exams. I’m proud to support this program, and I’ll continue working to ensure every farmer, student, and business in rural Missouri has access to high-speed internet.”

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Blunt has worked to ensure that the funding allocated through the CAF-II auction targets the 50 percent of rural Missourians who lack access to modern broadband service. Over the past two years, Blunt has urged the FCC to distribute the funding in a timely manner. Blunt’s efforts to ensure that the FCC took a cost-effective and technology-neutral approach has incentivized the FCC to deploy the highest possible speeds to the most unserved rural communities. In addition, Blunt worked to ensure that the list of qualifying providers included a wide range of entities that can provide fixed service, including new entrants to the field, like Rural Electric Cooperatives.