Rural Mississippians hopeful for faster internet after expansion bill passes

Rural Mississippians hopeful for faster internet after expansion bill passes
Earl Pike surfs the internet with slow broadband (Source: WMC Action News 5)

RED BANKS, MS (WMC) - Internet service is pretty important in today’s age, and some say remote areas of Mississippi are falling behind because they have poor internet connections.

New state legislators are now working on a bill to improve internet service.

When it comes to surfing the internet in rural Mississippi, Earl Pike said they're not catching any waves.

“Internet connection out here is terrible,’ Pike said.

Pike lives near Red Banks. Due to a lack of options, he uses use a company called Exede for internet service.

He only gets 10 megabytes per second, a low number that can drop at night to 5 megabytes per second.

“You can’t watch a video, it just keeps buffering,” Pike said.

A new state bill hopes to solve that problem.

The Mississippi Broadband Act would allow electrical cooperatives to use their resources to bring high speed internet services as well as electricity to remote areas.

Kevin Doddridge, CEO Northcentral Electrical Power Association, said this service is already available in Tennessee, Arkansas and north Alabama and would be huge for economic growth in Mississippi.

“I think it almost parallels the legislation that was passed back in the late 30s that formed electric co-ops to bring electricity to unserved areas,” Doddridge said. “We will be discussing this for decades to come.”

The bill passed easily in the state House and heads to the state Senate.

Pike said he doesn’t need much.

“We would just like to have something that would give me a good response time all the time,” Pike said.

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