TARGET 8: Missouri internet fails one community despite millions in funding

11 months 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, October 11 2016 Oct 11, 2016 Tuesday, October 11, 2016 8:02:00 PM CDT October 11, 2016 in News
By: Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A lack of internet providers and slow connections are a nuisance to many mid-Missourians, but for the Deaf Community, it's no joking matter. After pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into improving Missouri's internet, the state still trails the majority of the nation - even dropping in national ratings last year.

The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing wrapped up its annual Interpreter's Conference Sunday. Some people in the Deaf Community say although the commission works hard to improve communication, other state efforts fall short.

Jessica Brown is a Deaf woman who lives in the rural town of Tebbetts. She said she and her husband are looking to move, but her new home priority list might surprise you.

"My husband asked me, 'you know, what do you want in a house, what do you want in the area,'" Brown said. "The house, not so important to me - having Internet access and access to things, that's what's important to me."

Brown said that's because while most of us can pick up a phone and talk, she uses the Internet for most things, including emergencies.

"If I didn't have internet, you know, it could be kind of a life or death situation," Brown said.

Others, like MCDHH's executive director, agree internet connectivity is a vital part of everyday life.

"If I were to have a slower Internet speed and I tried to use my video phone, it would look very pixelated and the picture would freeze, and so the interpreter or the other deaf person wouldn't be able to read my sign language," Opeoluwa Sotonwa said.

Many people in the Deaf Community said most of the time they do have reliable Internet, but it's the times they don't that count.

"The local town that I live in, they have fiber-optic, so we're really one of the fortunate people that we have high speed," Brown said. "Even 10 miles away in Mokane, they don't have Internet."

Internet experts, like Socket's marketing manager, acknowledge the state's connectivity disparities.

Missouri Broadband Map

"Typically the more high speed, reliable technologies require significant investment and that's why sometimes rural communities get left behind," Allie Schomaker said.

Lawmakers also recognize Missouri's internet problem. In 2009, Gov. Jay Nixon spent almost $300 million in state and federal funding to improve Missouri's internet by 2014. Missouri was the 37th most connected state when Nixon's five-year plan ended that year. Since then, Missouri dropped to 38th.

Despite all the money and time spent to alleviate the problem, MoBroadbandNow, the name of Nixon's initiative, highlights its own shortcomings.

"Another 439,000 people in Missouri don't have any wired internet providers available where they live," MoBroadbandNow's website said. "There are 918,000 people in Missouri that have access to only one wired provider, leaving them no options to switch."

For Brown, reliable Internet isn't only a matter of life. It's also a matter of love.

"So right now, he's going to be deployed in January," she said about her husband. "So fortunately where he's going to be based, he has wifi. So we'll be able to use FaceTime, Skype."

KOMU 8 reached out to Nixon's office multiple times to ask why the governor's efforts might have failed, but has not heard back.

More News

Grid
List
FULTON- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) says America needs to have a bigger debate on the country's current foreign policy. ... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:29:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A private Catholic school for girls in Kansas City says it has disciplined a group of... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:23:16 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Some mid-Missouri residents who know what it's like to live through a horrific natural disaster have some advice... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:37:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Missouri congressman has heightened security to his office after a shooting at a congressional baseball practice... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:01:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
MOBERLY- Moberly Fire Department firefighters dropped down 8 feet underground Thursday to rescue two mock victims. “It’s a little... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:45:00 PM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations following the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer (all times... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 11:49:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - President Trump publicized his support this week for the replacement of the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Jurors have convicted a Kansas City, Kansas, man of first-degree murder for being an accomplice in... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:45:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations after the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer (all times... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:24:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS — There have been more fatal police shootings in St. Louis in 2017 than for a decade —... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 9:35:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Home Instead Senior Care in Columbia is set to host a day of education: Alzheimer's Learning Day. ... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, September 21 2017 Sep 21, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:53:00 AM CDT September 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Veterans living in the Patriot Place apartments will now have room to take their four-legged friends and their... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:22:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri has received a grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS Health Foundation to... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:55:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A man has been charged in the killing of an off-duty police officer at a restaurant... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:55:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to end on Sept. 30. The program... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:33:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Hasbro and Missouri UnitedHealthcare developed a wristband that can help reduce child obesity while getting kids up... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police could be wearing body cameras within 60 to 90 days. After a... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:02:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
OSAGE BEACH - A firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion after responding to a condo building fire Wednesday at 9:54... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 91°
5pm 92°
6pm 90°
7pm 87°
8pm 84°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:30p
Jeopardy!
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
4:30p
The Goldbergs
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld