NAACP: Mississippi must provide better access to broadband Internet

Better access to broadband-speed Internet is critical for the future well-being of Mississippi, according to a report released by the Center for Social Inclusion and the Mississippi NAACP.

The report shows Mississippi ranks among the lowest in the United States for accessibility and reliability of broadband service - with the least connected areas in rural and African American communities. Those areas tend to have less access to affordable, reliable broadband service either because it simply is not available where they live or because it is priced beyond reach, the study says.

The report suggests that targeted investments in broadband within low-income communities and rural areas in Mississippi is "critical to creating jobs, improving educational outcomes and enhancing health services, which will lay the groundwork for a vibrant economy that will benefit all residents of Mississippi," according to a press release from the NAACP.

According to the release, Mississippi falls below the national average in terms of access to wireline broadband technologies, "The state ranks 48 among all the states and territories in availability of broadband technology. Nationwide, 82.2 percent of Americans have access to cable broadband, but only 42.2 percent of Mississippians have such access. 14.5 percent of Americans have access to high-speed Internet by way of fiber optic connections, only 12.5 percent of Mississippians are similarly situated. National Broadband Map data indicates that when it comes to access to DSL technology, Mississippi ranks 49 among all states and US territories."