Over $250 million grants bring high-speed internet to Missouri rural area

2 months 1 day 19 hours ago Thursday, February 21 2019 Feb 21, 2019 Thursday, February 21, 2019 7:38:00 PM CST February 21, 2019 in News
By: Ethan Stein, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

MARCELINE - City Manager Richard Hoon is one of the 1.2 million Missourians without high-speed internet. He doesn’t have to go far to hear the complaints.

“I can hear my son in the other room yelling and screaming that he’s unable to download something,” said Hoon. “My wife and I will yell out to the kids get off one of the machines so we can finish watching this movie. So somebody has to make a sacrifice.”

It’s a common problem for those in rural areas. 50 percent of rural residents in Missouri don’t have access to high-speed internet. But there is good news for people in rural communities like Marceline; the Federal Communications Commission is giving 11 Missouri companies over $250 million in subsidies over 10 years to install new broadband structures.

Broadband structures connect farmers, businesses, gamers and educators to the internet with faster speeds and extra bandwidth. This allows the transfer of more data compared to traditional dial-up services.

Fiber optics is the fastest broadband available. It uses tiny glass threads, smaller than a strand of hair, to move data at the speed of light and provides more bandwidth compared to older and traditional broadband structures.

Jim Long, chief information officer at William Woods University, compares switching to fiber optic speeds to driving on a highway.

“The maximum speed is set. The only thing you can do now is build more lanes,” said Long. “What we had before was 10 lanes in essence, and now we have 500.”

Long said entertainment, specifically streaming video, makes up a majority of data moving through the internet and is the reason people have needed more bandwidth. He said the school is going to need technology with more bandwidth than fiber optic soon to attract students as more advanced technology is released.

“Well now we’re doing video. You need to push a lot more data in a very concentrated way,” Long said. “What happens when it’s augmented reality, what happens when it’s virtual reality where you need to send more data. Suddenly you need to get bigger and bigger.”

William Woods University, located in Fulton, is searching for broadband with more space than fiber optics to transfer data, while rural areas like Marceline are receiving fiber optics for the first time.

Meanwhile, communication and internet companies are searching for better internet technologies as well.

Bluebird Network, a telecommunications company, provides a backbone for bandwidth services, like fiber optics, to other internet companies. CEO Michael Morey wants government agencies to focus on advancing newer internet technologies.

“The internet is not going away,” said Morey.  “We’re going to need more and more [bandwidth] moving forward. The traditional providers, your Verizon and AT&T’s, are coming out with 5G.”

Morey believes as 5G technology advances in urban areas, rural communities will once again have slower internet speeds compared to more urban areas and will need subsidies once again to catch up.

He adds that fiber optics and 5G will work together to create faster internet speeds in the future. It’s why Chariton Valley, another telecommunications company in Macon, is continuing to focus on bringing fiber optics to rural towns rather emerging wireless technologies.

“Wireless spectrum has its limits,” said CEO Kirby Underberg.  “There is no limitation on fiber.

While conversations continue on advancing internet technology, rural communities are still excited about faster broadband. People gave construction workers gifts because they’re excited to have faster internet.

“You have people coming out giving you cookies,” said Gabe Jacoby, supervisor of construction and engineering at Chariton Valley.   “The residents catch your face and the next thing you know, hey my husband made this last night, deer jerky or whatever it may be.”

The excitement is reaching Hoon and his family back in Marceline.

“[My son] was telling his friends at school ‘we’re gonna get it, we’re going to get it,’” Hoon said.  “If it came to me buying him his first car versus getting a 150-meg download speed on the fiber optic he would be more excited about that and say, ‘hey, forget about the car.’”

Does my home have high-speed internet?

Click anywhere on the map to see how many people in your county have high-speed internet.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Hundreds of veterans gathered at the Capitol Thursday to be honored 50 years after the Vietnam War.... More >>
48 minutes ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 12:37:00 PM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - As bargaining negotiations between MU and its maintenance workers approach, one local union plans to call on the... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019 3:07:00 AM CDT April 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel formally announced the launch of his foundation, called “GP M.A.D.E.” Wednesday... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:47:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The city's Airport Advisory Board met Wednesday for the first time since Columbia Regional Airport had to close... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:01:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- A proposed wind project in Harrisburg is now getting the local government involved. The Boone County planning and... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:55:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People gathered in downtown Jefferson City Wednesday evening to walk for Rape and Abuse Crisis Service or... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:48:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House will hold a public hearing Thursday morning to allow people with disabilities to renew... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:29:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that allows the state to sell Rice Hall,... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:25:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Cancer patients could receive health insurance coverage for dental and fertility preservation procedures if two Missouri House... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 5:26:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Police are trying to figure out what happened at a big fight near Lincoln University's... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:04:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - People wanting to draw attention to sexual violence made more than a fashion statement by wearing denim on... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:45:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools provided additional information Wednesday amid a legal dispute over collective bargaining with the Columbia Missouri... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:18:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Fire Department is starting the process to carry and use Narcan, or the generic Naloxone, during... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:03:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri River Relief, a nonprofit organization, met with Columbia Public Schools to use their new boat, “Lucia,”... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A new bill is designed to simplify the tax process by cutting the number of income tax... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 2:14:00 PM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is seeking a major disaster declaration in response to severe flooding in... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 24 2019 Apr 24, 2019 Wednesday, April 24, 2019 10:52:00 AM CDT April 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Several community members joined Columbia Police Interim Chief Geoff Jones and committee panel members Tuesday to discuss racial... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 23 2019 Apr 23, 2019 Tuesday, April 23, 2019 7:21:00 PM CDT April 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia's Building Construction Codes Commission approved reconstruction plans for the Columbia Canine Sports Center at a meeting Monday... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 23 2019 Apr 23, 2019 Tuesday, April 23, 2019 7:00:00 PM CDT April 23, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
2pm 67°
3pm 69°
4pm 70°
5pm 70°