Rural Mississippi areas gain faster internet

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About 15,000 locations in rural Mississippi communities now have access to broadband internet.

These homes and small businesses within Desoto, Harrison, Jackson, Lafayette, Marshall, Panola, Pontotoc, Stone and Tate counties can choose an AT&T internet plan ranging from $50 to $90 per month depending on the speed.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, Mississippi Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley and AT&T Mississippi President Mayo Flynt on June 3 announced the broadband internet service launch at a news conference in Taylor. Broadband services were made available to homes and small businesses that day.

Presley later said that not being able to connect to the internet at high speeds and affordable rates is a quality of life issue.

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley

PSC

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley

“If you can give high-speed internet service to every child in a rural county of Mississippi, you’re able to connect them to every bit of research they could need,” Presley said. “I’ve talked to many parents whose schools have gone to electronic textbooks, and you’ve got to have an internet connection to make those work properly or to get the most out of that experience.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s website, broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. This includes DSL, cable modem, fiber and wireless internet connections.

AT&T Mississippi spokesperson Tarvis Thompson said everyone involved in the broadband launch can order the telecommunications company’s “U-verse” services, which include internet, phone and Satellite TV.

“It helps everything from telehealth (to) the education gap,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, Mississippi is last in so many things. Hopefully, this type of technology can help close the gap where Mississippi drags behind in so many areas and help educational outcomes.”

With help from the FCC’s Connect America Fund, AT&T filed a plan with the Mississippi PSC to receive about $75.8 million for the project, Thompson said. AT&T has accepted from the fund another $50 million annually for 6 years for Mississippi communities, she said.

  • lmpu99

    Every place that I happen to find information about expanding internet services in Mississippi shows nothing happening in Southwest Mississippi. There are plenty people here with children and businesses that need access to higher data limits and less costs than what is available now. The sad part about it is that the better internet is available just a mile or two from most people but they can’t get hooked up, myself included. People with good internet generally pay around 80.00/month for several hundred gigs of data usage. Those of us who are so unlucky as to not be able to get it pay $150.00/month for 40 gigs of slower service and $15 per every gig of overage. There are 4 of us on cell phones and computers. All businesses want you to use the internet to pay bills or look up information. Many require the use of U-Tube which eats up data. We can’t watch movies or much of anything even though we pay 4 times as much for our internet as other people. This is horrible and enough to make someone want to move out of Mississippi. We’ve had AT&T services for 34 years. You don’t think that gives us any special priorities do you? Of course not. And then when I see that my part of Mississippi isn’t even in the running for upgrades it makes me ill. Can’t Mississippi get up to the 21st century on anything?

    • MakeItBetter

      I too have been an AT&T customer for over 30 years and should not have to beg for decent internet capabilities. The Hughes Net Satellite service I get here only (sometimes) delivers 15 mps and we pay over $100 per month. Only 6 miles away from my home Cable One provides 100 mps for $35 per month. THIS IS 2017. Why are people in rural areas segregated from acceptable internet access speeds? What can be done?

      • lmpu99

        I don’t know where you live, but have you noticed that central up to north Mississippi and the coast region are the areas that seem to get everything? Our money is just as green as theirs.