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Greene County Commissioner to hold roundtable discussion on broadband internet access

Published: Jun. 4, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If you’re a Greene County resident without access to broadband internet, presiding commissioner Bob Dixon wants to know about it.

Dixon will hold a round table discussion on broadband internet on June 16 at 9 a.m. at the Greene County Public Safety Center.

Dixon says broadband internet is not a luxury anymore, but a utility. He was appointed to the National Broadband Task Force of the National Association of Counties late last year.

The task force is made up of nearly three dozen county government officials from across the country. They are studying the lack of reliable broadband in rural areas, including here in Greene County. The task force aims to identify problems like inaccurate coverage maps and the difficulty of reaching some areas because of topography.

A 2018 study by Microsoft found that 19 million rural Americans do not use broadband, mostly because they don’t have access.

The lack of the service is a major barrier for employment, education, health and overall quality of life.

“We are talking here about a utility that the entire nation needs access to, and so, I think this report will be a very valuable tool in making those advocacy efforts known with the Congress,” said Dixon.

Commissioner Dixon is holding round table discussions throughout southwest Missouri to learn about the issues. He’s already held meetings in Christian, Newton, McDonald, Barry and Lawrence counties. He’ll be holding a meeting here in Greene County very soon.

Dixon would like to have a discussion with stakeholders in healthcare, education and business, as well as members of the general public to hear their experiences. The task force will use what it learns in the discussions in a report due next month.

“It’s important. You can’t very well run a business if you don’t have the same tools that everybody else does,” says Dixon. “It’s not a level playing field. So we’ve invited folks from the Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders, education, healthcare, economic development, you name it. And the public is invited as well.”

If you would like to reserve a seat at the meeting in Greene County, email Ahardy@greenecountymo.gov.

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