AP NEWS

Internet provider aims to expand rural broadband in Midwest

December 27, 2018

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — An Illinois-based internet provider is planning to spur broadband development in rural areas across five states in the central U.S.

Wisper ISP Inc. is set to receive money from the Federal Communication Commission for broadband development in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. The company’s largest project is in Missouri, where it’s getting more than $176 million from the FCC’s Connect America Fund for broadband development in 65 counties, the Columbia Missourian reported .

Wisper CEO Nathan Stooke says the business will begin to receive the funding in the next four to six months.

“What excites me the most is that this has been our strategic plan, to grow across Missouri and southern Illinois,” Stooke said. “Now that we’ve won CAF, we have the cash to build the network we have always wanted to. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about for 15 years.”

Wisper must build out 40 percent of its assigned areas within three years of financial eligibility, the FCC said in a news release. The company then must increase its development by 20 percent each subsequent year until the project is complete. The deadline is the end of the sixth year.

Malinda Heuring, marketing director at Wisper, said the company will need help locating areas to install the technology and “in getting the word out to potential customers that we have completed the build out.”

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com

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