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Rural internet topic of FCC chair’s visit

3:57PM October 06, 2017

Source: West Plains Daily Quill

Wednesday morning, patrons of Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District filed into the West Plains Civic Center theater, many from outside of Howell County, to listen to a discussion on rural broadband internet access with Federal Communications Commissions Chair Ajit Pai.

The gathering, promoted by Eighth District Rep. Jason Smith as a roundtable discussion, was well-attended. About 200 seats in the theater were filled with constituents and representatives of local governments and industries. Some dressed professionally, while others still wore their farm clothes, having rushed to the civic center from their rural homes.

A panel of speakers representing different local sectors impacted by the rural broadband issue shared concerns, observations and solutions they’ve managed to improvise to work with or around limited rural access.

Loyd Rice of SEMO Electric Cooperative in Sikeston spoke of his co-op’s GoSEMO fiber initiative it is preparing to launch. GoSEMO was formed to build a fiber-optic network with a two-fold purpose. First, it would improve the co-op’s own automation capabilities and reliable electric service, and second it would further the co-op’s goal of powering communities and empowering members.


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