Federal program to provide $21M over 10 years to expand high-speed internet through Co-Mo Connect

A regional internet company that first expanded broadband access to rural areas on the west side of Lake of the Ozarks is now greatly expanding beyond the borders of its original territory after receiving a major funding boost from the federal government.

Through a highly successful phased private campaign, Co-Mo Connect first brought high-speed internet to the service area of its mother company Co-Mo Electric Cooperative with later minor expansions to small cities within its region. The project received national attention in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal for its success in bringing first-class fiber-to-home internet service to a wide swath of rural customers.

But the for-profit business attached to the not-for-profit cooperative has lately been exploring a larger expansion beyond the cooperative’s service space.

At the conclusion of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund II (CAFII) auction, Co-Mo Connect was notified that it will receive more than $21 million over 10 years in support of its fiber-to-the-home project, according to a press release from Co-Mo Electric Cooperative.

Up to $2 billion in subsidies were available over the next decade to deliver broadband to unserved rural areas as part of the FCC's ongoing transition of its advanced communications Universal Service Fund.  While these funds were made available by the FCC several years ago, the auction funds were for census blocks across the country where large companies declined the financial support, thus declining to serve the residents in those areas.

“To be clear, Co-Mo Electric members have access to high-speed internet, television and phone services right now. There is no wait. If you want access to this state-of-the-art technology, pick up the phone and call us,” said Aaron Bradshaw, Co-Mo Electric’s General Manger/CEO. “The awarded funds will be used to help perfect the project inside the cooperative’s territory as well as to expand service to some adjacent areas that are currently underserved.”

The Greenview area of Camden County is one of the locales being studied for expansion.

“The FCC realized that the model we created right here in central Missouri is working,” said Bradshaw, “As such, they actively encouraged electric cooperatives to participate in the bidding process due to our connection to rural America and dedication to our members.” 

In the press release, Bradshaw called the federal award a “giant win” for the company and local communities. 

“The funding will be used to support the current efforts of Co-Mo Connect and to fulfill the hopes of many who weren’t going to see broadband in their area without us,” he said.

Co-Mo Connect is Co-Mo Electric’s for-profit fiber-to-the-home subsidiary. Co-Mo Connect has fully deployed a fiber network across Co-Mo Electric’s service territory and currently serves thousands of subscribers with a suite of service options including gigabit internet, high-definition television and crystal clear phone service. 

These services are available to you, if you’re a Co-Mo Electric member or live in Tipton, California, Versailles, Stover, Russellville or Windsor Place (Boonville).

For more information or to signup, please call 888-99FIBER or visit join.co-mo.net. 

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s service area comprises approximately 2,300 square miles in central Missouri. Co-Mo exists to fulfill its members’ needs for superior electric and related services at fair and reasonable prices and support its communities through economic, civic and educational opportunities.