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

5 months 1 week 3 days ago October 11, 2016 Oct 11, 2016 Tuesday, October 11 2016 Tuesday, October 11, 2016 8:02:00 PM CDT 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
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Police in southwestern Missouri's Springfield say a man who kept authorities in a several-hour standoff was... More >>
14 minutes ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 11:16:07 AM CDT in News
RENICK, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a tree trimmer was killed in north-central Missouri wh en a tree he was... More >>
18 minutes ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 11:12:45 AM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Two area libraries received federal grants worth nearly $25,000. The Daniel Boone Regional Library received a... More >>
24 minutes ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 11:06:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The daughter of outspoken conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly alleges in a new lawsuit that several of... More >>
1 hour ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:27:35 AM CDT in News
GASCONADE COUNTY - Divers found human remains in a pond early Tuesday morning, and authorities are investigating the case as... More >>
1 hour ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 9:33:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City man is accused of causing a car crash that killed his two young... More >>
4 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:16:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City man who was naked when he was arrested has been charged... More >>
4 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:12:17 AM CDT in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities say a pedestrian has been killed in a hit-and-run crash in St. Louis County. ... More >>
4 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:45:51 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Webster University in St. Louis is mourning the death of an adjunct professor who collapsed during... More >>
4 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:38:45 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - New software will make infrastructure projects in Jefferson City easier to manage, more cost effective and more... More >>
7 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:31:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A federal grand jury indicted a Columbia man today for producing and distributing child pornography. Sergio... More >>
14 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 9:21:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The City Supplier Diversity Program and Shelter Insurance teamed up to host the Building Inclusive Partnership’s EXPO for... More >>
16 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 7:03:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Dozens of people gathered at the ARC to voice their concerns over Governor Eric Greitens proposed budget cuts... More >>
16 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 6:55:00 PM CDT in News
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A Missouri woman has been ordered to spend a quarter century in Illinois prison for killing... More >>
18 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:13:19 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A trial is underway in suburban St. Louis in the case of a mother accused of poisoning... More >>
18 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:10:12 PM CDT in News
OWENSVILLE (AP) — Authorities in east-central Missouri's Gasconade County say they're investigating as a homicide the death of a person... More >>
18 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:08:19 PM CDT in News
MEXICO - A middle school student was turned over to the Missouri Division of Youth Services Wednesday after Mexico Public... More >>
18 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:58:13 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation held a public hearing in Columbia Wednesday to hear feedback on ways to improve services... More >>
19 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:39:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 51°
12pm 47°
1pm 51°
2pm 57°
3pm 63°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
Powerless
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
The Blacklist: Redemption
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld