The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded more than $7.9 million in Federal funding to expand cellular service across the state. The funding comes from the Cell Towers Grant Program, which is funded by the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

This latest batch of funding is from the second round of the Cell Towers Grant Program. Grants will be awarded to 14 projects to construct new towers that provide quality cellular service and greater 911 connectivity to high-cost areas.

“This second round of funding awarded through the Cell Towers Grant Program will further promote economic growth and public safety statewide,” said Gov. Mike Parson. “As we continue to improve Missouri’s critical infrastructure, including cellular service, we appreciate the efforts of the Office of Broadband Development. As a result of this program, thousands of locations lacking adequate coverage will now receive quality, reliable cellular connectivity.”

The DED said that projects receiving funds through this latest round of funding are expected to serve more than 18,000 high-need locations that previously lacked quality cellular service. The program is administered by DED’s Office of Broadband Development. The program, launched in May 2023, has awarded competitive grants to applicants who also contributed private funding to their proposed projects.

“Cellular connectivity is a must-have in today’s economy, and we’re grateful to help deliver this necessity to areas needing it most,” said Michelle Hataway, acting director of the Department of Economic Development. “Thanks to partnerships with providers statewide, this grant program is helping Missourians prosper by ensuring that more businesses, communities, and families can get connected.”

The state noted that the entirety of the $20 million appropriated for the program by Governor Parson and the General Assembly has now been awarded to eligible providers and tower owners for the construction of new towers.

“We’re thrilled to have awarded all of the $20 million available through the Cell Towers Grant Program,” said BJ Tanksley, director of the Office of Broadband Development. “While there remains plenty of work to be done, today’s announcement is a major step forward in enhancing cellular coverage to the hardest-to-serve areas of our state. Our team is as committed as ever to ensuring we build on progress made and meet our goal of connecting all Missourians.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs