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Digital Divide Continues to Be Hot Topic across Missouri

The following was published by GrowingAmerica on March 20, 2019
It was contributed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture 

National and state leaders came together for three events this month centered around one of the biggest issues facing rural Missourians – broadband access.

Governor Parson joined with the Missouri Department of Economic Development on Friday, March 1 for a conference on the importance of broadband infrastructure in Missouri.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II also hosted his Rural-Urban Broadband Discussion on Friday, March 1 in Blue Springs. He was joined by Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn and representatives from Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

“The Digital Divide is an issue that both urban and rural residents, businesses and local governments are dealing with," said Rep. Cleaver. "Lower broadband width and slower internet speed are leaving these communities at an economic disadvantage that is awfully difficult to overcome in the digital world of the 21st century. The FCC has made this broadband issue a priority, like myself, and I want to thank Commissioner Starks for coming out to listen to the people.”

On Saturday, March 2, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt hosted a rural broadband press conference at the Ralls County Electric Cooperative office in New London. He discussed his goal to increase broadband service to rural Missouri.

“61 percent of rural Missourians don’t have access to high speed broadband, and about 35 percent of rural Americans don’t have access," said Sen. Blunt. "If we could get to just 35 percent average we’d be better off than we are now."

"I truly believe that the solution to bringing high-speed internet to the 1.2 million Missourians that currently lack it is an "All of the Above" approach. It's going to take creative solutions from many partners," said Director Chinn.

For more information on the issue of rural broadband access, click here