Letter to the Editor

Good news on broadband funding

I appreciate your article regarding the bill Gov. Mike Parson signed, expanding Missouri's broadband grant program through 2027. (Missouri supports broadband expansion)

Missouri ranks 41st nationally when it comes to broadband access, as nearly 20% of residents lack reliable, high-speed internet. The grant program, which will give communities funding to invest in broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the state, will mean more Missouri households will soon gain access to reliable, high-speed internet.

As a faculty member with online, nonprofit university Western Governors University, I must note how beneficial this extra funding will be for educational institutions -- both at the college and K-12 levels. Higher education has evolved in recent years, with online programs becoming more mainstream. Having reliable internet access removes an obstacle for many who want to earn a college degree but need the flexibility online education can offer. This need for high-speed internet has only become more apparent as colleges and K-12 schools around our area work to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and turn to online learning to teach students when they cannot physically be in the classroom.

While it's alarming so many lack access to this crucial resource, I am proud to see our state take action. As more households gain access to reliable, high-speed internet, they'll also have access to more educational and career opportunities that many of us have taken for granted. This funding is welcome news for our state, and I'm excited to see the progress over the next few years.

TARA COOPER, Cape Girardeau