The Mid-America Regional Council is hosting two meetings with the Missouri Office of Broadband Development on broadband and digital access in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties.

Your voice matters. 

Lend your voice and join other stakeholders to learn about the need for investment in broadband and digital access services in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 

Thursday, November 3, 2022 

Background  

The state of Missouri is expected to receive more than $500 million through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. BEAD represents an  unprecedented investment in broadband infrastructure across the state of Missouri. DEA addresses non-infrastructure barriers to getting online, like the inability to afford  internet service or devices or digital skills deficits. The funds from these two programs will  be used to implement the state’s new Connecting All Missourians initiative. 

Both topics are on the agenda as state officials travel to hear from Missourians about how this money should be spent. This input will be incorporated into the state’s plans for  BEAD and DEA funds. “All across the state, communities struggle when they cannot  take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy,” said BJ Tanksley, Office of Broadband Development Director. “We understand that these opportunities will look different in different parts of the state. In order to design programs that address the challenges in your area, we need to hear from you.”  

In addition, MARC, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City (KC Rising) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City are working on a regional analysis of broadband infrastructure needs and digital equity services.

Information on this work will also be shared. “The Kansas City region is a combination of urban, suburban and rural places, with a diverse population. There are needs for both infrastructure and service, which are important to advancing our region’s quality of life, economic development and  equity,” said Marlene Nagel, MARC’s Community Development Director. 

Representatives from the MO Broadband Office and the University of Missouri will share information on their planning, including measures local communities can take now to  prepare themselves for this round of funding opportunities. The state wants to hear from attendees about the situation in their region: the specific challenges faced by residents  who struggle to access the internet and the local resources, strategies, and know-how  that can be used to overcome them.

  • Click here to learn more about the Office of Broadband Development’s public engagement process 
  • Click here to see the region’s planning work as shared on MARC’s website.   

Along with BEAD and DEA funding, the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) brought an  additional $265 million in broadband funding to the state. OBD is currently reviewing  applications for projects under this round of funding. 

For more information:

  • The Office of Broadband Development can be reached at broadband@ded.mo.gov
  • Mid-America Regional Council can be reached at 816/474-4240 or info@marc.org

Further Reading

The Enterprise Center Offers Student Connectivity Support and Digital Inclusion Training for Chattanooga Residents

The Enterprise Center is a peer organization of KC Digital Drive that manages a range of digital inclusion programs aimed at improving connectivity and access to digital technologies in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three of the most important are the Quick Connect and HCS EdConnect programs, which helped Chattanooga residents stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and […]

Read More

Civic Innovation Challenge awards $1 million to KC Digital Drive-partnered project to help underrepresented youth access extracurricular learning opportunities

On September 21st, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the 17 recipients of their Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) Stage 2 Awards. One of the winners was the Connecting Underrepresented Youths with Employment Opportunities, led by the University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. This project, which KC Digital Drive is partnering on, will build and test an integrated mobile application to help underrepresented youth find and access out-of-school-time learning opportunities.

Read More