Almost a dozen Regional Planning Commissions are asking the public for input to determine the high-speed internet usage as part of Governor Jay Nixon’s efforts to expand web access throughout the state.

Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Regional Planning Commissions Director Randy Rallsback:

Randy Railsback

Press Release from the State of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – As part of Gov. Jay Nixon’s efforts to expand high-speed Internet access throughout the state, the Governor’s MoBroadbandNow initiative is seeking input from 44,000 Missourians to determine their high-speed Internet accessibility.

Yesterday, 4,000 surveys each were mailed to randomly selected Missourians residing in various counties within the state’s 11 Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs). The Broadband Residential Survey is designed to determine residents’ usage, needs and interests, and seeks to raise the number of Missourians who have access to high-speed Internet. Completed surveys must be postmarked May 31, 2011.

The 11 regions, and the counties served by them, are listed below:

  • Bootheel:  Duklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Scott and Stoddard counties
  • Green Hills: Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Daviess Grundy, Harrison, Linn, Livingston, Mercer and Sullivan counties
  • Harry S Truman: Barton, Jasper, McDonald and Newton counties
  • Kaysinger Basin: Bates, Benton, Cedar, Henry, Hickory and St. Clair counties
  • Lake of the Ozark:  Camden, Laclede, Miller and Morgan counties
  • Mo-Kan: Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton and Dekalb counties
  • Northwest: Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Worth counties
  • Pioneer Trails: Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis and Saline counties
  • South Central Ozark: Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties
  • Southeast: Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Iron, Madison, Perry, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve counties
  • Southwest: Barry, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster counties

“Seeking community input is an important part of the planning process,” said MoBroadbandNow Director Damon Porter. “It’s critical to have an understanding of the local community’s needs in order to provide the tools that can allow them access to high-speed Internet. Broadband can benefit citizens in many ways such as applying for a job or earning a college degree online and from the comfort of one’s own home.”

The 44,000 residents currently being surveyed represent a portion of 88,000 total Missourians from which input will be sought. The overall number of residents surveyed will provide a scientific statistical sampling of broadband information for Missourians as a whole.

Not everyone will receive a survey, but those who do should fill it out as accurately as possible and return it by the deadline. Over the next several months, each of the 11 planning teams is expected to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of its regional broadband systems and develop a list of recommendations to improve high-speed Internet coverage. Within the next few weeks, an additional six RPCs will survey residents who live in their RPC area.

Broadband typically is defined as a service that enables high-speed Internet access and high-capacity data communications, as opposed to low-speed services such as dial-up connections. The results of the survey will be used to help the planning teams and the state gain a better of understanding of broadband availability and adoption and how these factors lend themselves to better service and faster communication.