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Project aims to bring improved Internet service to SW MO - KOAM TV 7

Project aims to bring improved Internet service to Southwest Missouri

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A move toward improved Internet service in Southwest Missouri.  Residents from Barton, Jasper, McDonald and Newton Counties met Friday to discuss how to expand broadband coverage.

The meeting is part of Governor Nixon's MOBroadband-Now initiative to expand broadband Internet to 95% of the state's population within five years.

The broadband initiative is looking to expand the accessibility of affordable broadband coverage to residents in rural and under-served parts of the state.

The meeting was held by the Broadband Regional Technology Planning Team.

Representatives revealed results from a survey that indicated broadband use to support and improve education, healthcare and public safety is top priority.

The director of the broadband initiative, Damon Porter, says the adoption goals for the project is to expand public computing centers and develop and expand a low cost, basic broadband access throughout the region.

He says in order for the community to survive in the future it is important all aspects of the community is connected with technology.

"Broadband is definitely a necessity and we know this because we used to think of things as bricks-and-mortar and the world is changing," says Porter.  "Library's are spending more money on e-books instead of textbooks.  Everyone is using technology."

The survey also stated 33% of residents can receive broadband service but choose not to.

Porter says that is sometimes a question of cost or not having a computer in the home but their goal is to find ways for people to get computers and make sure the service is affordable if they want one.

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