COLOMBIA – Socket, a telephone and Internet service provider, is expanding its coverage to northern Boone County.
The expansion comes after the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded the state of Missouri a $42.2 million grant. Five million of the grant will be used by Socket.
The grant is part of the NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program, which is “a $288 million broadband deployment program intended for partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and fixed broadband service providers,” according to BroadbandUSA.
Residents of northern Boone County reported a lack of internet, according to Socket President and COO Carson Coffman, who said the company “regularly gets calls from people” in the area.
“Critical components of the community need to be accessible to more than people who live in a big city,” Coffman said.
Janet Thompson, Boone County District II Commissioner, said she was happy that people could have access to the internet.
“It’s just something we’ve been waiting for in this community. It makes such a difference in terms of being able to access education, being able to access health care, being able to access jobs,” Thompson said. .
According to the Department of Economic Development (DED), parts of northern Boone County are considered “underserved” in terms of coverage.
The remaining money from the NTIA grant will be used by Missouri for “projects benefiting more than 13,000 households,” according to the DED.
Socket has already started building fiber lines, which are lines that transmit data through glass fibers.
To learn more about the NTIA grant in Missouri and how the funds are used, visit the DED website.