Both Missouri Senators have signed a letter asking for more time to organize efforts to get financing to expand rural broadband service.
The letter seeks more time for state, local, and Tribal governments to challenge an eligibility map for federal money to expand broadband over the next 10 years. The Senators want additional outreach to the governments that may not be aware or prepared to challenge for access to $4.5 billion in funding from the Federal Communications Commission.
The Senators, including Missouri’s Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill, think the current map misrepresents the existence of broadband services in many areas. The money would be used to subsidize areas where private companies won’t provide service because it’s not economically viable. Blunt gave an address to the Missouri House in April, where he stated 51 percent of rural Missourians don’t have access to broadband.
McCaskill noted in a statement that the Senators’ correspondence is supported by the Missouri Farm Bureau. The letter addressed to FCC Chairman Agit Pai asks for an additional 90 days to allow local governments to challenge the current eligibility map