How Missouri’s DED Is Expanding Cellular Coverage with $12 Million

MISSOURI — Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has allocated $12 million towards the development of new cell towers, with the aim of enhancing cellular reception in numerous counties, particularly in southwest Missouri.

The DED has granted funding for 29 projects under the Cell Towers Grant Program, which draws its financial support from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is administered by the DED’s Office of Broadband Development.

These funds will be utilized to erect new cellular towers with the primary goal of improving cellular service quality and strengthening 911 connectivity in regions with high infrastructure costs.

The selected projects are anticipated to serve over 17,000 underserved locations across Missouri, including Cedar, Dent, Howell, Laclede, Oregon, Ozark, St. Clair, Texas, Vernon, and Wright counties. Furthermore, these initiatives will have a positive impact on Adair, Audrain, Caldwell, Callaway, Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Clark, Clinton, Crawford, Davies, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Holt, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Lewis, Livingston, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Pettis, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, and Washington counties.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson emphasized the importance of expanding statewide cellular connectivity, highlighting its significance for public safety and economic growth. He expressed pride in the significant investments made in critical infrastructure, such as cellular service, to bolster the state’s future. These grants will play a pivotal role in expanding cellular service access for thousands of Missourians.

In adherence to program requirements, applicants have also provided private funding. Each project recipient will oversee the construction of one cellular tower, resulting in a total of 29 towers distributed across the state.

The DED initiated a second round of funding under the Cell Towers Grant Program starting on October 20. An additional $7.9 million will be accessible to eligible service providers and tower owners to facilitate the construction of additional new cellular towers.

The application portal for the program is scheduled to close on November 10, 2023, with award announcements slated for December 29.

For further details on DED’s ARPA-funded grant programs, interested parties can refer to their website.

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