Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 4

R M | C O O P E R AT I O N

photo courtesy Callaway Electric Cooperative

Chris Meloy, communication construction and maintenance supervisor at Callaway Electric, completes a connection in Fulton.
Three co-op fiber projects receiving state grants will extend service to an estimated 430 homes, farms and businesses.

Speeding along
Co-op fiber projects receive $863,000 in state broadband grants

A

midst the changes that came to everyday
life in the Show-Me State during a pandemic, a few truths didn't waver. Health
care professionals, store clerks and countless others provided services Missourians couldn't
do without. Add to that list electric co-ops, who
remained committed to keeping lights on, power
flowing and rural Missouri connected.
	 Thanks to grants from the Missouri Broadband
Grant Program, that work continues. The program
- a joint effort between the Missouri Department
of Economic Development and Missouri Department of Agriculture - was established by the state
legislature in 2018 and matches 50% of eligible
expenses. A Missouri electric co-op and two fiber
subsidiaries will receive $863,269. The funds,
part of $3.05 million distributed to 16 entities, are
intended to bring high-speed internet to an estimated 4,000 Missourians.
	 The announcement made mid-April by Gov.
Mike Parson arrived at a crucial time as many Missourians were instructed to stay at home to help
prevent the spread of COVID-19. Undoubtedly,
with more people telecommuting to work, school
and doctor's appointments, the need for broadband
service in rural areas has never been greater.
	 In the Tick Creek area of Phelps County, Gascosage Electric Cooperative will extend new gigabit
service to 85 homes through a $402,332 grant.

4

RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2020

	 "It was a game changer for us," says Gascosage
CEO Carmen Hartwell, adding state and federal
broadband grants have turned a discussion among
Gascosage board members several years ago into a
reality that members can afford. "It was no longer
'Can we do it?' but 'What are we waiting for?'‚ÄČ"
	 Callabyte Technology, a subsidiary of Callaway
Electric Cooperative, will use a $335,806 grant to
connect up to 241 homes, farms and businesses in
southern Callaway County to gigabit-speed internet, telephone and television services.
	 "It's kind of a win-win-win," says CEO Tom Howard, "and I include three wins because it's a win
for the state of Missouri, which has been working
diligently to expand high-speed internet access
into rural areas, it's a win for Callabyte because
it increases our subscriber base and opportunity,
and most importantly it's a win for the people."
	 United Services will extend its fiber-to-the-home
network to the Bolckow area. The $125,131 grant
will connect 106 unserved or underserved users in
United Electric Cooperative's service territory.
	 "This is another great opportunity to expand
critical fiber access to more homes and businesses
in the underserved areas of our market," says United CEO Jim Bagley. "We would also like to thank
our state senator, Dan Hegeman, for having the
vision and persistence to initiate the bill that led to
the development of this program."



Rural Missouri - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 10
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Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Cover4
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