During its open meeting in July 2020, the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved a motion to establish the “Connect Mississippi Committee” consisting of representatives in significant sectors of the state’s economy and education system.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought the issue of connectivity to light more than ever before. Educational institutions, businesses and healthcare providers have worked tirelessly to find solutions to best serve their students, customers and patients amid incredibly difficult circumstances. In order for these industries and educational institutions to flourish in the future, the issue of high-speed Internet must be a major factor in the conversation.

“I am very excited to be a part of this effort and progress to connect all Mississippians to reliable internet services,” Chairman Dane Maxwell said. “Our goal is to appoint local leaders to this committee who will help in the Commission’s efforts to be a voice for our rural areas that are unserved or underserved. Adequate Internet speeds help drive economies and greatly impact advances in education, healthcare, and economic development. I look forward to working with these leaders to make a positive impact for the future of our great state.”

The committee will consist of 13 members to be announced in August. Each sitting Public Service Commissioner will appoint 4 members from their respective districts while the Chairperson will be selected by nomination and vote of the full Public Service Commission.

Additionally, the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Senator Joel Carter and Chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee Representative Scott Bounds will serve as representatives of Mississippi Legislature.

The Connect Mississippi Committee’s main goal will be to further identify current connectivity issues experienced throughout the state in the areas of education, economic development and telemedicine and establish comprehensive recommendations including any legislation that would most effectively address these challenges.

The membership of the committee will be announced at the PSC open meeting in August.

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Release from the Mississippi Public Service Commission.