TUPELO • A town hall will be held tonight at 6 p.m. to discuss legislation to allow rural electric cooperatives to bring internet service to their service areas.
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will host the meeting on broadband internet expansion at the University of Mississippi Tupelo Campus Auditorium on Briar Ridge Road.
Steve Foshee, the CEO of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, Alabama, will be a guest of Commissioner Presley 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” Presley said. “Hamilton is 14 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.”
Presley has called on the Mississippi Legislature to change the law in the upcoming legislative session to allow rural electric cooperatives to provide high-speed internet service. Current Mississippi law prohibits rural electric cooperatives from providing internet service, although no such law exists anywhere else in the U.S. Currently, 107 rural electric cooperatives are providing internet service across the country, including in every state bordering Mississippi.
The event is co-sponsored by AARP.