Letter to the Editor

Delivering Internet to rural areas

Sunday, January 27, 2008

To the editor:Amid all the discussion about the need to deploy high-speed Internet to rural Missouri, the excellent work being done by small telephone companies is being overlooked.

BPS Telephone Co. and the other small telephone companies in Missouri have invested millions of dollars to upgrade our infrastructure and networks to ensure that our customers have the same affordable access to evolving technology as those living in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield. Our 35 small telephone companies offer broadband service to 91 percent of the 107,000 customers we serve.

In fact, small telephone companies were singled out in the Missouri Public Service Commission report on Missouri broadband availability for being more aggressive than our larger counterparts in offering high-speed Internet.

BPS began planning to deploy DSL in its exchanges in the late 1990s. I am proud to say we now offer service to 100 percent of our customers. We also offer wireless Internet to customers in surrounding rural exchanges where dial-up and satellite are their only options.

Small telephone companies believe rural residents deserve access to the same services as those living in urban areas. We urge the Rural High-Speed Internet Access Task Force appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to leave the existing federal programs in place to allow us to continue to deploy state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities and services.

LISA WINBERRY, Manager, BPS Telephone Co., Bernie, Mo.