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More than $5 million granted to expand broadband in Northern Boone County

BOONE COUNTY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Socket Telecom is receiving over $5 million to expand broadband infrastructure in northern Boone County as part of a $42.2 million federal grant to the state of Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced Tuesday it was awarded $42.2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to expand broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the state.

Socket said it will use the grant money to lay fiber optic cables in Northern Boone County, which is challenging and expensive because of the rural towns and railroad tracks.

Northern Boone County was identified as an underserved area in terms of internet access by the Department of Economic Development.

Broadband coverage map from the Missouri Department of Economic Development

According to the Department of Economic Development, 13,000 households in 12 Missouri counties will benefit from the broadband expansion expected to happen thanks to this grant. BJ Tanksley, director of broadband for the Department of Economic Development, said in a news release this is a big opportunity to bring high-speed internet to Missourians.

“A quality internet connection has never been more important, whether for work, health care, or education," Tanksley said.

The grant is part of the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, meant to strengthen services and assistance found to be lacking during the pandemic.

Broadband expansion is a priority of the state and national governments. Gov. Mike Parson said in a news release the state plans to invest an additional $400 million to expand internet access.

"These funds enable our state to benefit a diverse range of industries as we continue working to invest in broadband statewide," Parson said. "Internet access is a necessity in a modern economy, and we’re grateful for the Department of Commerce’s assistance with this key priority.”

Check back for updates to this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

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