The Missoula City Council wants to give a shot in the arm to businesses in need of faster and cheaper Internet speeds.
On Monday, the council voted 9-1 to spend $13,125 toward a feasibility study “outlining the demand for and options to improve access to extreme broadband at an affordable cost for businesses in Missoula.”
“We did a survey around that and identified that one of the needs that folks have is for high-speed, high-capacity connections at an affordable price,” said Councilwoman Caitlin Copple.
Copple chairs the Economic Development Subcommittee of the council, a group that formed to research the way municipal government can best support technology infrastructure to bolster local businesses – and recruit more technology startups.
“We felt like the time is now to bring on a consultant and really get a professional assessment on what we have, what the demand is and what the potential partnerships are,” Copple said.
Earlier this month, the Board of County Commissioners guaranteed $13,125 toward the study. The city and county funds together meet a matching grant requirement for a $26,250 award the Bitter Root Economic Development District secured from the Big Sky Trust Fund, a program of the Montana Department of Commerce.
“The city of Missoula recognizes affordable, high-capacity and high-speed Internet service across the city is vital to Missoula’s economic growth,” reads the city’s resolution authorizing the expenditure.
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