Wicker promotes broadband access in Mississippi

QUITMAN, Miss. (WTOK) -- Most of the world has internet access at their fingertips, but some rural regions are often left behind. Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker is pushing for enhanced broadband access in rural communities.

(Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

"If we don't get on it we're going to be left behind," said Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton.

Quitman was one of the first rural towns in East Mississippi to get high speed broadband. It's hard to believe that only four years ago, less than 20 percent of people in town had internet.

"We're now at about 80 percent of our homes are on the internet, of those about 40 percent are wired for fiber," said Fulton.

Mayor Eddie Fulton says having enhanced broadband through the town makes Quitman more viable .

"It doesn't show today what fiber will do. It's helped our schools. It's helped the healthcare. It's helped local business."

Rural communities like Quitman need access to the world to thrive. Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker is pushing for better broadband access across the magnolia state.

"It would mean the opportunity to participate in this 21st century economy to grow jobs and small businesses," said Sen. Wicker.

President Trump wants to include enhanced broadband access for rural America in his infrastructure plan. The idea has been talked about for quite some time but Senator Wicker says it's costly, which has delayed improvements.

"I hope we can get a good plan for the administration that is bi-partisan and builds us roads, bridges, deepens our ports but also includes broadband as a part of that," said Wicker.

For small towns like Quitman with a population of less than three thousand people: "It's so exciting. The future is so exciting," said Fulton.

Earlier this year, Sen. Wicker introduced the "Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017." The act requires the FCC to standardize broadband coverage data which would ensure federal funds are spent on establishing broadband in rural communities that truly need it.