Presley of Public Service Commission seeks data on areas that lack interneet service

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Mississippi residents without high-speed Internet service, the Public Service Commission wants to hear from you.
Brandon Presley, PSC’s northern district commissioner, said Tuesday his agency has launched a campaign for Mississippians to notify the PSC if they lack this service.
“We are trying to help our rural areas get high-speed Internet because we know they need it,” he said in a Tupelo news conference.
Presley plans stops throughout his district to enlist the public to report their need for the service.
He said it’s about personal access, as well as economic and educational development.
“High-speed Internet is just as important today as paved roads were 40 years ago or electricity,” added Presley, who recently was elected president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Anyone interested in making their high-speed Internet needs known to the PSC may:
• Call (800) 356-6428 or (800) 637-7722
• Write for a broadband survey form to Presley, P.O. Box 1174, Jackson MS 39215-1174
• Or go online to fill out a form at www.psc.state.ms.us/Commissioners/northern/zapthegap.html.
Data gathered from this new push will go to the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies, which have used old data showing incorrectly that Mississippians have a high degree of high-speed Internet service.
The incorrect data was provided a few years ago and must be adjusted to ensure Mississippi secures as much federal financial support as possible to improve the communication services to taxpayers, Presley said.
“We want to get every single penny available to Mississippi for high-speed Internet – for residents and small business owners,” he said.
He termed the campaign “Phase Two” of the Zap the Gap effort to assess rural cellphone usage and needs a few years ago.
Presley said that even in the region’s most populous DeSoto County, some 10,000 people report they lack high-speed Internet access.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com