The Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments is looking to facilitate broadband internet expansion in its four-county region. In conjunction with the MoBroadbandNow, the LOCLG has been participating in a planning process on high speed internet access, and is trying to encourage providers to bring service to communities in Camden, Laclede, Miller and Morgan counties.
At its upcoming third and final meeting on broadband access expansion, representatives of providers will be available to explain what thresholds need to be met to make the investment to extend high speed internet service more widely in the region.
The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Eldon Community Center at 309 East 2nd St. in Eldon.
The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Strategic Plan identifies telehealth and economic development as the main factors in working to bring affordable access to the area.
Speakers at the meeting will provide information on site selection requirements for potential developers and address possible loss in opportunity due to lack of access to high speed internet.
Consumers are also encouraged to attend the meeting.
The goal is to give local officials and consumers a better understanding of the initiative required for broadband access.
According to LOCLG Executive Director Linda Conner, the region faces two main obstacles to service - low, spread out population and lack of enough interest from the population.
Conner characterized the current access level as mostly small concentrated areas with no consistency - just some pockets of broadband service.
There are several communities in the region that are interested but they are very small, she said. One neighborhood Conner has heard from includes just 19 homes and is not close to another neighborhood.
One of the few success stories for large scale expansion of high speed internet in the area has been the Co-Mo Connect project through the Co-Mo Electric Cooperative.
Co-Mo Electric subsidiary Co-Mo Comm is laying fiber optic cable in phased construction plans based on interest within its 2,300-square-mile service territory after successful pilot projects in Tipton and Gravois Mills areas in 2010.
The Co-Mo Comm Board of Directors announced its intention to extend the fiber-to-the-home communications network throughout the cooperative's service territory in June 2012. The four-phase plan is expected to take at least four years to complete with each phase to begin when the interest level from service members reaches 20 percent.
Co-Mo's territory within the bounds of the LOCLG includes Morgan County and down into Sunrise Beach and Shawnee Bend areas of Camden County.
Construction of phase one is currently underway.
Conner said LOCLG is referencing Co-Mo's success and trying to use their example to encourage expansion of broadband access in the other parts of the region.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information about the meeting or for special accommodations, contact the LOCLG at 573-346-5692.