Broadband internet access is essential for tomorrow’s economy. Missouri has invested in broadband through the Missouri Rural Broadband Development Fund, and the federal government has enacted several programs to assist with deployment.


The majority of rural Missourians lack access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Broadband access enables modern farming tools to access cloud-based computing power and is a link to the best education and healthcare available. It also opens opportunities for economic development.

Missouri currently ranks 42nd in the nation in broadband access. Over one million Missourians lack access to broadband. As we have seen through the COVID-19 Pandemic, the lack of access disproportionately affects rural Missouri. According to a 2016 FCC report, 61 percent of rural Missourians do not have access to high-speed internet. In order for rural Missouri to reach its full potential we need access to the tools our urban friends take for granted.


MOFB is involved in discussions at the local, state, and federal level exploring new ideas to bring broadband to all Missourians. The problem has been further highlighted by the need for remote work and education during the COVID-19 pandemic. MOFB has worked with our federal partners to ensure verification of provider data when federal dollars are paid out. We are also monitoring various funding streams created through legislation related to economic development.

In 2018, in response to efforts by a coalition led by MOFB, the governor announced the creation of a Director of Broadband Development within the Department of Economic Development. This position will work within state government to focus the state’s resources. Many states have adopted a similar coordinating office in their effort to make strides in broadband availability.

Also in 2018, the legislature additionally created the Rural Broadband Development Fund to allow the state to incentivize broadband deployment into unserved and underserved areas.

MOFB Policy

We support Missouri adopting a state broadband office.

We support making rural electric cooperatives and other entities eligible for Connect America funding to provide “next generation” broadband access.

We support the creation of a state incentive/development fund to improve the availability of broadband in rural areas. Suggested funding options could include current general revenue or new fees on related telecommunication services.

We support allowing Department of Economic Development’s Community Improvement District and Neighborhood Improvement District programs to be used to facilitate broadband deployment within those districts.

We support increased cooperation among internet providers to increase access to internet in rural areas through coordination/sharing of either current assets or the construction/installation of necessary infrastructure.

We support standardizing the minimum acceptable speed for all federally-funded broadband projects to a speed not less than 25 Mbps/3Mbps.

We oppose legislation or regulations pertaining to access fees that could hinder the availability of affordable advanced services (i.e. broadband) or result in dramatic rate increases for rural Missouri.

We support allowing rural electric cooperative easements to be used for the additional purpose of broadband service only, without compensation to the landowners as long as the landowners’ use of the easement is unaffected and no other damages or loss of property values are incurred.

We support making rural electric cooperatives and other entities eligible for Connect America funding to provide “next generation” broadband access.

We support state legislation and appropriations to match federal funding under the universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as the E-rate Program, that ensures rural schools in Missouri can obtain high-speed Internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates.

The FCC and an independent technology company should be required to implement rigorous testing to ensure there is not interference between broadband and GPS. Any cost resulting from technical upgrades or fixes must be assumed by the communication company responsible.

Access to high-quality voice, data, graphics and video via the Internet is increasingly important in our schools, hospitals, businesses and homes. As such, we support the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition for broadband (25 megabits per second download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed). We encourage investments in rural areas to provide high-speed fiber or other types of networks that will meet and exceed the FCC’s standard.

We believe the goals of the USDA Rural Utilities Service’s broadband program should be to assist broadband providers in expanding high-speed internet access to underserved areas and to promote competition in underserved areas to lower the price of high-speed internet access for consumers. USDA and Congress should use the Farm Bill and annual appropriations bills to modify the program to increase utilization of loans and grants in rural and underserved communities.