Governor Jay Nixon (D) says more than 75 percent of the state has access to broadband Internet service.
The governor provided an update on the state’s efforts to expand access to rural portions of Missouri during today's second annual broadband summit, held in Jefferson City. He told the audience of more than 300 business and government leaders that his broadband initiative has enabled small businesses and larger corporations across the state to compete for grants to expand broadband access.
“Over the next few years, Missouri will see a minimum of $311 million in our 18 separate MoBroadbandNow projects," Nixon said. "All this is fulfilling the vision we had in 2009 for MoBroadbandNow...we would compete aggressively for funds that were available to help us dramatically expand the reach of high-speed communications to schools, businesses, health care providers and consumers."
The governor’s office says 79 percent of the state has broadband access – the initiative’s goal is to increase access to 95 percent by the year 2014.
State Representative Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis) attended today's summit. He says, though, that some grants have gone to companies where there’s already sufficient broadband access.
“What I’d like to see is the areas that don’t have any broadband in the state, you know, to put some monies in those areas," Gatschenberger said. "(Let's) use some of that stimulus money that’s been given out.”
Gatschenberger says some Missouri lawmakers have talked about the possibility of making state money available for broadband expansion, possibly in the form of tax credits. But he also says a broadband tax credit could fall victim to the same dispute over incentives that has divided the House and Senate over the past few years.