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

1 year 11 months 1 week 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
JEFFERSON CITY - After being inactive for nearly a year, the Missouri Board of Education is launching a search for... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:06:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, is changing the way she is fundraising after an ethics complaint and... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:17:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is treating the double shooting on Wednesday afternoon as a murder-suicide. ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some people living in Columbia's southside neighborhoods say thieves, using creative technology, are stealing from cars. Haley... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON- After the State Auditor's report that more local money could go to domestic violence shelters, one survivor reiterated the... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Wednesday morning firefighters burned a simulated dorm room burn on the MU campus to show students how quickly... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY – Cole County ended its economic development contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. McCaskill's... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party has been sentenced to two years and... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department ruled a Wednesday morning fire as suspicious. There were no injuries, but the... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As rivers are still rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, donations are also flooding in. However,... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of another man at a trailer... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:51:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The search for Missouri's next top education official has begun. The State Board of Education... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:24:10 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON - UPDATE: Police have found the two boys who escaped from the Division of Youth Services. Police said... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:38:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - Two people are dead and two others injured after a crash on Highway 87 Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:51:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Anthony Martin died in a crash in Cooper County on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:57:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Columbia woman was taken to the Lake Regional Hospital on Sunday after a crash involving a... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:39:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
3am 77°
4am 76°
5am 74°
6am 73°