The State of Missouri is proposing a public-private partnership to create a high-speed data network covering much of the state. The state has set an Aug. 14 deadline for any company that might want to participate in the program, called MoBroadbandNow.

The state believes that broadband connectivity is essential for businesses in its borders to remain competitive. To that end, Missouri wants to build “a robust, open-access broadband backbone network constructed of state-of-the-art fiber optics that will connect every cluster of 50 or more dwellings, every county courthouse, school district, university, key law enforcement centers and other state facilities throughout Missouri.”

The network is to be accessible by 95 percent of Missourians and Missouri businesses, according to the state.

Missouri expects to “fill in the gaps” where private interests cannot, or will not, extend such a network.

The state expects to use the network to help defray the cost of delivering broadband Internet to rural, unserved and underserved Missouri communities and citizens.

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