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MOREnet Brings Affordable Connectivity to an Underserved Area of Missouri
With the steady rise of streaming content, interactive web services, and online testing, increased Internet bandwidth is in high demand. Unfortunately, for southeast Missouri, an area known to be unserved and underserved by existing broadband infrastructure, cost-effective Ethernet solutions have been limited. But a public-private partnership between MOREnet and Sho-Me Technologies, a telecommunications provider based in Marshfield, Missouri, is addressing the problem.
MOREnet has acquired 2,500 miles of fiber to expand the infrastructure for high-capacity, low-cost Internet access in the southeastern area of Missouri to provide cost-effective gigabit and beyond Internet access for nearly 200 member locations in the area.
This investment allows community anchor institutions (CAIs) including K-12 schools, public libraries, higher education and health care providers within more than thirty counties across the southeast region of the state to connect directly to the MOREnet backbone, thereby stabilizing connectivity costs while increasing bandwidth to a gigabit and beyond.
The project is being well-received by MOREnet member organizations. Jim Thomas, Director of Media Services, at Poplar Bluff R-1 School District stated, “This project ensures that Poplar Bluff Schools and other school districts in southeast Missouri will be prepared for expansion and growth without concerns about connectivity issues because of costs. The staff at MOREnet has once again provided leadership and planning needed for future growth. This allows school districts to focus on the mission of serving needs of students and not worrying about whether we will have enough bandwidth for adding or expanding programs.”
Through the partnership, MOREnet will light the fiber and provide wave services to Sho-Me, creating benefits for both organizations. The benefits to Missouri are clear:
- Increased bandwidth allows schools to meet the objectives of the Federal ConnectED initiative goals for the next five years and into the future. ConnectED was designed to empower teachers with the best technology and the training to use it effectively and empowers K-12 students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.
- Increased bandwidth at public libraries can assist unemployed workers to get back on their feet and excel in a modern workplace. Local citizens who utilize public libraries for services such as genealogical research, adult literacy skills, or career enhancement will also benefit from the upgraded infrastructure.
- Infrastructure lays the foundation for schools to deploy innovative classroom technologies such as bring your own device (BYOD), virtual field trips, cloud resources, and 1:1 initiatives.
- The public-private partnership enables affordable connectivity to the region supporting economic development growth, including CAI sites served by the MOREnet consortium and local commercial and residential sites served by Sho-Me Technologies.
2,500 miles of new fiber effectively triples the network that MOREnet manages while improving broadband connectivity for CAIs in an un- and underserved area of Missouri.