Legislation that would allow rural electric cooperatives to bring internet service to Mississippi is likely to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will host a town hall meeting on Broadband Internet Expansion on January 3, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the University of Mississippi Tupelo Campus Auditorium on Briar Ridge Road.
Presley has called on the state legislature to change the law during the 2019 session to allow rural electric cooperatives to provide high-speed internet service. As it stands, Mississippi law prohibits rural electric cooperatives from providing internet service, although no such law exists anywhere else in America.
Currently, 107 rural electric cooperatives are providing internet service across the country, including in every state bordering Mississippi.
Steve Foshee, CEO of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, Alabama, will be the guest speaker at the event. Foshee is the architect of one of the nationally recognized models for expanding internet service by electric cooperatives and will be sharing of how he and his cooperative accomplished it.
“Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, Alabama is a model for how to expand high-speed Internet service in rural areas,” said Presley. “Hamilton is fourteen miles from the Mississippi state line and Mississippians should be able to have the same kind of service as Steve is providing his members through his co-op. Steve’s story and the Alabama model is a lesson on how to get this problem fixed. If they can do it in Alabama, there is no reason we can’t do it in Mississippi.”