Missouri and federal governments differ about how much of Missouri has access to high speed internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission says Missouri has the 6th highest population without access to broadband–high speed internet.  Nationally, says the FCC, 7.7- 8.4% of the population is unserved.  Missouri is at 11-13.5%, with as much as 40% of the rural population unserved. That means service is not available or internet service is available only in slower formats.

But Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Gunn maintains only 1-3% of Missouri lacks high speed acess. The difference, he says the FCC does not recognize some ways people access the high speed net.

                                       AUDIO: Gunn   :26  

The FCC says 23 Missouri counties are underserved.  The PSC lists only nine.  Gunn says the biggest barrier to broadband service is the costs of providing service to lightly-populated rural areas. And he says a National Telecommunications Information Administration  survey indicates a good number of people are not interested in broadband or don’t even have computers. 

Gunn says he’s one of those who believes rural broadband can do for rural areas with rural electrification did for those areas 75 years ago.