Mid-Mo Regional Planning Committee Works to Increase Broadband Availability

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ASHLAND - The Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission seeks to expand broadband accessibility from 79 percent to 95 percent by 2014. The plan specifically targets rural areas in Missouri.

A broadband planning team surveyed people in Boone, Cole, Callaway, Cooper and Moniteau counties. More than 40 percent of internet users are dissatisfied with the cost of their internet services, 50 percent of the respondents think there are not enough number of internet providers in their areas, and more than 20 percent think they do not have reliable access to the Internet.

The Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission met Wednesday to review the broadband plan, which includes working with providers to expand broadband services to very targeted areas. 

Shannon White, a member of of the Mid-MO Broadband Planning Team, said Callaway County is one priority because it lacks broadband services in its farmland and forest areas.

"There are pockets of rural individuals that do not have access to the Internet except for at a local community anchor, which might be their local library or the local school, so that's one space that we want to make sure that that's available to all," said White.

The planning team aims not only to increase the broadband availability, but also the public access and broadband adoption in Missouri.

White also said the increase in broadband availability would benefit the economic development, healthcare, higher education, K-12 education, libraries, local government, small business and workforce development.