Broadband network up and running in Vandalia

Broadband network up and running in Vandalia
Gov. Mike Parson addresses attendees at a ceremony last week recognizing the expansion of a broadband internet network into Vandalia. [Dave Faries]
By: 
Dave Faries
Editor

When Gov. Mike Parson addressed an audience packed into the cafe space in Vandalia’s Eastern Missouri Family YMCA last week, he emphasized that access to high speed broadband internet was one of his priorities.

He then admitted that he had fallen short of his goals.

“Everyone should have access to reliable internet,” he said. “We still have gaps.”

One of those gaps was filled recently, when Charter Communications, under the Spectrum brand completed a $2.3 million project covering 1,400 homes and businesses in Vandalia. The service brings access to internet speeds up to one gigabyte per second, as well as Spectrum’s television, voice and mobile.

“Like anything, it takes time,” said Vandalia mayor Ralph Kuda. “But they’re hooking up a lot of people.”

The project began last year. The state’s Department of Economic Development had included Vandalia in its broadband grant program, but Spectrum made the department aware they had plans to expand their network into the area.

“There was no state funding involved,” said department spokesperson Tim Arbeiter. “It’s a significant investment.”

Charter has extended its network in Missouri over the past several years, adding 23,000 homes and small businesses in 2020 alone. Because the company did not have an existing network in Vandalia, the project involved digging new lines and bringing in new equipment.

“It was quite an expensive project,” said Wes Shirley, senior manager of communications for Spectrum.

The state’s broadband grant program was created in 2018 in order to allow the use of state resources to encourage internet providers to invest in broadband infrastructure in rural and other underserved areas.

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