Missouri has chosen a chief for its Broadband Development Office.
On Friday, the state announced that it had selected Tim Arbeiter to head the state’s new initiative, which was created earlier this year to improve broadband access statewide.
Missouri’s departments of economic development and agriculture partnered to establish the broadband office, with the intent of strengthening public-private partnerships and extending broadband access to rural areas of the state that don’t have it.
Arbeiter will lead the state’s efforts to maximize broadband development for all citizens, and will coordinate initiatives between federal, state, and regional officials.
The FCC Broadband Progress Report showed that 1.25 million Missourians, roughly one-fifth of the state, don’t have access to high-speed internet. The lion’s share of this demographic is in rural areas of the state, according to the report.
“Everywhere I go around the state, I hear about this issue,” Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said in a press release. “It’s one thing everyone agrees on, and it impacts a variety of people and industries. I know Tim will do great work leading the charge to statewide broadband access.”
Arbeiter was previously president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, vice president of community development for the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, and the executive director of Old Town Cape.
“It’s an honor to be able to serve Missourians across our state and help lead the effort in additional solutions for broadband deployment,” Arbeiter said. “Broadband access will open up so many new opportunities for farms, small businesses, health care providers, schools, and consumers in rural areas. It truly has the potential to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Missourians.”