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Students Compete on Plans to Expand Northwest Missouri Broadband
Missouri Ag Connection - 07/29/2022

Teams of students from across the University of Missouri System are competing to develop plans for supplying access to affordable high-speed internet to residents and businesses in northwestern Missouri.

The teams will present their plans 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 20 at the Mozingo Event Center, 1 Fall Drive, Maryville. The event, which will also be livestreamed, is free and open to the public.

"These students are taking on a real-world challenge -- an actual community facing the problem of inadequate broadband access -- and coming up with potential plans for workable public-private partnership (P3) models," said Anthony Luppino, a member of the UM System Broadband Initiative(opens in new window) steering committee and director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

The three teams comprise students from various disciplines, including engineering, business, law and computer science. Prior to the presentations, a five-person panel will judge the proposals on their quality and feasibility.

Proposals must address strategies for increasing adoption of internet-based technologies and include a plan to finance expansion of the community's broadband infrastructure. The teams' plans may be used by the community in their broadband expansion efforts.

"The P3 Competition is a creative way to get the next generation of students to engage with communities to solve real-time challenges and improve economic opportunities, while building skills necessary in today's globally competitive market," said Kimberly Mildward, economic development planner with the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments.

Using an approach outlined in the UM System Broadband Initiative's Digitally Connected Community Guide, the student teams hope to provide useful ideas for bringing affordable high-speed internet to the region and encouraging the use of broadband applications.

Attendance at the Aug. 20 event, in person or via livestream, is free. Register in advance at https://umurl.us/P3Event. On-site registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

The event and student competition are sponsored by the H&R Block Foundation and the City of Maryville.


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