The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) will hold stakeholder meetings next month with individuals involved in health care and agri-tourism in an effort to identify broadband needs in these two economic sectors.
MRPC has worked with the MoBroadbandNow initiative, which aims to increase broadband Internet availability throughout Missouri since 2011, and the stakeholder meetings will be a new phase of planning for MoBroadbandNow within the region.
As one of the initiative’s Regional Technology Planning Teams, MRPC has assisted in identifying the broadband needs in the eight-county Meramec region.
Some aspects the stakeholders will examine during the meetings will include availability, affordability and adoption – and usage when available – of broadband Internet services as it relates to health care and agri-tourism.
The health care focus group meeting is set for Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m. at MRPC, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James.
The agri-tourism focus group will meet Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 10 a.m., also at MRPC.
The initiative’s findings from phase one indicate only 63 percent of Missouri residents in rural areas, like the Meramec region, have adopted broadband Internet.
The findings also indicate a lack of access to broadband Internet services in rural areas. The initiative has defined broadband Internet service as a connection with at least 3 Mbps download speed.
One discussion point in the next series of stakeholder meetings for individuals involved in health care will be telemedicine, which is one of the initiative’s objectives.
A connection speed of at least 10 Mbps is the base-level connection necessary for telemedicine.
According to MoBroadbandNow’s phase one findings, that connection speed is available to fewer than 70 percent of Missouri’s rural areas.