Gov. Mike Parson's administration announced the injection of tens of millions of dollars' worth of broadband funding for southwest Missouri.
The state Department of Economic Development awarded $261 million through the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, according to a news release. The funding is designed to create more than 55,000 broadband connections in locations that previously lacked adequate internet access.
“Our goal with American Rescue Plan Act funds is to make investments that have a lasting, positive impact for Missourians statewide," Parson said in the release. "Today, we have accomplished that for broadband expansion, which is vital to supporting education, health care, business and agriculture in today’s economy.”
White River Valley Electric Cooperative is the largest recipient in the Springfield area.
With $47.4 million in grant funding, the organization will be charged with conducting seven connection projects in Christian, Douglas, Ozark, Stone and Taney counties, according to the release.
Net Vision Communications LLC is receiving $13.5 million for two projects in Dallas and Hickory counties.
The release indicates $5.6 million is going to Choctaw Telephone Co. for one project in Lawrence County.
And in Dade and Cedar counties, Sac Osage Electric Cooperative Inc. is taking on a single project with a roughly $3 million grant.
“Broadband expansion is a critical priority, both for economic development and improving the lives of people across our state," said Maggie Kost, acting director of the Department of Economic Development, in the release. "We’re grateful to partner with recipients of this grant program to bring more connections, and greater opportunities, to all Missourians.”
Whataburger launched its second local store; Branson shop Revive Juice and Coffee Bar LLC moved; and a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District opened.