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Missourians can see broadband coverage map used for $1.7B expansion project

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(The Center Square) – Missourians will get an opportunity to report areas of poor internet service through an interactive map as part of a $1.7 billion federal initiative.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Office of Broadband announced the launch of the first version of the map. The funds will come from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Missourians will be able to report locations without service in an effort to gain funding for broadband services. The process is scheduled to start on March 18 and close on April 19.

“We’re excited to release mapping that will inform the public and private sectors about broadband availability and BEAD program funding,” BJ Tanksley, director of the Office of Broadband Development, said in a statement. “This interactive map will play a vital role in collecting feedback from stakeholders during the BEAD challenge process and help prepare for project implementation. We encourage citizens to review the map as we continue working to fulfill our mission of connecting all Missourians.”

The online map will allow citizens, government representatives, internet service providers and others to visualize broadband coverage throughout Missouri. Broadband availability can be viewed for each home, business or other serviceable location.

Availability is designated by three categories with served areas in green, underserved in yellow and unserved in red.

The federal program defines a location as “served” when addresses have broadband service meeting or exceeding 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed. Underserved is defined as broadband below 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speed but higher than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

Unserved is classified as broadband providing less than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed.

“Additionally, the map does not include satellite providers and unlicensed fixed wireless locations since they are not eligible for funding under” BEAD, according to information provided on the map’s website.

The map shows 2.5 million locations with broadband service. More than 2.1 million locations are classified as “served,” 111,357 as “underserved” and 276,348 as “unserved.” More than 87% of all locations have broadband subscriptions and only 0.24% have dial-up service.

The map also provides the number of broadband internet service providers available to consumers in geographic areas. Data is also provided on income levels, age and race.

“The coverage data is intended to support state broadband investment decisions to close the remaining broadband infrastructure gaps in the state, provide a means for Missouri residents to provide feedback on the accuracy of the data, and share data with the Federal Communications Commission to improve the accuracy of the National Broadband Map,” according to map information.

The BEAD program will send $42.45 billion to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, according to the website internetforall.gov.

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