New MO USDA Rural Development director focused on rural broadband

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New MO USDA Rural Development director focused on rural broadband

The new director of Missouri’s USDA Rural Development office says boosting rural broadband in the state is top priority.

Kyle Wilkens tells Brownfield broadband availability sets the tone for small communities to thrive.

“You’re going to increase the tax space, you’re going to have more money spent in the community, schools will get better,” Wilkens said. “It’s all going to come from in the communities. A lot of that is going to come from the ability to get high-speed internet to everyone so they have a lot more choices.”

He said high-speed internet allows for more choices on where rural residents can work and live, but current connectivity is lacking in several parts of the state.

“For some of the jobs that people may be able to do remotely with higher-speed internet,” he said. “I don’t think you could do it with that kind of a connection, and that’s what we’re going to try to change.”

Wilkens says the Rural Development office is positioned to make “great changes” with support from the recently passed infrastructure bill.

Kyle Wilkens Interview

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