Presley to host meeting on cell phone, internet service in rural LOU

Published 10:30 am Sunday, August 5, 2018

Lafayette County residents will have the opportunity to discuss their concerns about access to cellular telephone and high-speed internet service on Monday, Aug. 6 during a meeting with Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley.

The meeting will be the first for the Lafayette County Task Force, and will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Courtroom 1 of the Lafayette County Chancery Building.

“Rural Mississippi has an infrastructure crisis in the lack of cellular telephone service and high-speed internet service,” Presley said in a recent news release. “Mississippians are sick and tired of paying for a service that doesn’t work or being told that providers have no intention of serving their areas. That is unacceptable to me and through the help of these citizen task forces, we are going to highlight this problem and demand answers.”

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Among other projects, citizens involved with the task force will be able to use a free smartphone app, approved by the Federal Trade Commission, to document the lack of cellular telephone and data service in their area.

The Federal Communications Commission currently shows that Mississippi has adequate service in almost every county of the state. That information is false, according to Presley, and could cause Mississippi to lose millions in federal funding for cellular telephone towers in rural areas.

“The information gathered that we will use to prove that the FCC’s maps for funding are wrong will be due soon, so we have a lot of work to do in a very short time,” Presley said. “That is why citizen volunteers are so very important.”

Members of the task force will also meet with elected leaders to look at what solutions exist to bring high-speed internet service to rural areas.

“While we have had many volunteers, we always welcome more. This meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend,” Presley said.