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Engagement and Outreach Impact

UM System Broadband Initiative

Broadband is a critical factor in economic growth, educational opportunity and access to healthcare—for all of Missouri and beyond.

The most recent rankings on broadband accessibility from the Federal Communications Commission shows that Missouri has work to do: Missouri is ranked 41st in the country. The speed, stability and availability of the internet is key to education, innovation and progress in our state, and addressing regulatory issues, education, technology advances and potential partnerships is needed to make high-speed internet available throughout the state.

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The UM System Broadband Initiative exemplifies the mission of the Office of Engagement and Outreach in which the University and the greater community partner to establish a relationship of value, share information and improve the lives of those in Missouri and beyond. Learn more about the office and its broadband engagement systemwide (PDF, 3MB).

Feature story

Broadband Initiative pilots project to expand an essential utility statewide—starting in Bollinger County

Broadband Update Webinar (July 8, 2020)

The UM System Broadband Leadership Team, consisting of researchers and community stakeholders, hosted a live public webinar on July 8, 2020, introducing an actionable plan to bring affordable and accessible broadband internet to Bollinger County, Missouri.

Applied to a county in which four out of five residents have no broadband access, the plan will serve as a model for a broader effort to make high speed internet more available to people in rural areas of the state. Entitled “Bringing Broadband to a Missouri Community,” the webinar also shared information about the Missouri Broadband Resource Rail, a free, web-based resource that will assist in the expansion of broadband across a variety of industries and government services.

Watch the full Broadband Update webinar on the University of Missouri Extension website (exit UM System site).

About Missouri Broadband Resource Rail

Missouri Broadband Resource Rail is a free web-based resource that uses SourceLink®, proven resource connector software, to encourage the creation of teams devoted to the expansion of broadband and adoption of broadband-based applications in business, agriculture, education, government services and healthcare.

The site will catalogue over 100 current research, community education and service projects related to broadband expansion and development of broadband-based applications involving UM System faculty and staff. It will host government, business and nonprofit resources related to broadband and its applications, as well. The Resource Rail also will feature UM System resources to help communities assess:

  • appropriate technologies to meet their broadband infrastructure needs
  • available financing and funding resources for broadband projects
  • strategies to educate the public on how to use broadband-based applications

The Resource Rail will connect with All Things Missouri, a web-based resource developed by the MU Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES), with its databases of geocentric information about broadband access and census data about community education, employment, healthcare and other metrics.

Results and lessons learned from the community test-bed project in Bollinger County will also be made available through the Missouri Broadband Resource Rail so that they can be applied in other settings across the state.

Reviewed 2020-07-10