Missouri Broadband Availability Challenge Process now open until April 23

March 25, 2024

March 25, 2024

Jefferson City, Mo. — The Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Office of Broadband Development (OBD) announced today that the Missouri Broadband Availability Challenge Process is now open and accepting challenges until April 23. The challenge process will assist in the investment of $1.7 billion in funding provided by the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

“We’re committed to making the most of every investment in our state’s critical infrastructure, which includes broadband internet,” said Governor Mike Parson. “Today, we have a historic opportunity to bring more quality connections to more Missourians than ever before. The Missouri Broadband Availability Challenge Process is a vital step in ensuring that resources for broadband expansion are used efficiently and effectively.”

The purpose of the challenge process is to finalize the eligibility of Missouri homes and businesses for funding through the BEAD program. It will allow Missourians and broadband stakeholders to provide evidence that the Missouri Broadband Availability Map does not accurately reflect the availability or quality of internet service at a given location. Through the challenge process, OBD will collect input important to achieving its goal of connecting all Missourians to quality, high-speed internet.

“We encourage all Missourians, including service providers, to help ensure the map is as accurate as possible before funding decisions are made,” said BJ Tanksley, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “This is a pivotal moment for broadband expansion. Public input will greatly help us in our ongoing work to connect all Missourians.”

To assist challenge process participants, OBD has published a series of online resources that include a challenge portal user guide, data downloads reflecting the status of locations, the approved BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1, and various how-to guides. These resources are currently available on OBD’s challenge process webpage.

During the challenge process, providers whose service is challenged will have 30 days to file rebuttal evidence. Any nonprofit, local government, or internet service provider interested in participating should register through the challenge portal. Providers reporting service in Missouri are encouraged to register so they will be notified of challenges and able to respond. Resubmission of challenges will only be accepted before April 23 and challenges rejected due to a lack of evidence or other reason after April 23 cannot be resubmitted. Challengers should consider submitting challenges as early as possible.

The Missouri Broadband Availability Map is now available at broadbandmap.mo.gov. Details on the challenge process, including helpful resources, are available at ded.mo.gov/office-broadband-development/challenge.

About the Office of Broadband Development

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is focused on addressing broadband availability and non-infrastructure barriers to full participation in the digital economy in Missouri by working with providers, communities, and stakeholders to expand and accelerate broadband deployment across the state. OBD’s Connecting All Missourians initiative includes an extensive public engagement process to inform plans for programs funded by the Digital Equity Act (DEA) and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, both part of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA).

To learn more about the Office of Broadband Development or its programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. As one team built around the customer and driven by data, DED aspires to be the best economic development department in the Midwest. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create opportunities for Missourians to prosper.