JACKSON – Mississippi Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced that the PSC voted unanimously to create the Connect Mississippi Committee, related to broadband expansion. The committee will identify broadband internet connectivity issues and establish comprehensive recommendations to address these challenges in Mississippi. The idea for the Connect MS Committee was brought forward by PSC Chairman and Southern District Commissioner Dane Maxwell.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the gaps in high-speed internet service across Mississippi, including the need to deliver educational opportunities, provide healthcare offerings and promote economic development.

“I am excited the commission created this committee to not only help identify issues in our communities, but to also help us find solutions,” Presley said. “Broadband expansion has been a top priority of mine for years now, and I look forward to working with this statewide group to find ways to connect our rural citizens to high-speed internet service.”

Each Public Service Commissioner will appoint four members from their districts, with the chair of the committee being chosen by nomination and vote of the full commission. The chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Sen. Joel Carter, and the chair of the House Public Utilities Committees, Rep. Scott Bounds, will also serve as members, representing the Mississippi Legislature.

Following the passage of the resolution creating the Connect Mississippi Committee, Presley appointed the following individuals as North Mississippi representatives:

Rural Resident/Consumers Representative

Gerald Weathers, Monroe County

Healthcare/Telehealth Representative

Shane Spees, CEO, North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo

Economic Development Representative

Joe Max Higgins, CEO, The Golden Triangle Link, Columbus

Education Representative

Dr. Evelyn Jossell, Superintendent, Quitman County Schools, Marks

The full committee will be announced in August.

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