Plans for high-speed Internet will be discussed next week at a meeting at Willow Springs.

Projects to improve Internet service and education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math in south-central Missouri will be discussed next week at a meeting in Willow Springs.

The Southern Ozark Area Redevelopment (SOAR) meeting will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Charles Ferguson building in Willow Springs.

Officials with CenturyLink will outline plans to build rural high speed Internet in the area. Doug Galloway, state director of legislative affairs, and Dave Foster, director of business operations, will meet with the group.  The public is invited to view the CenturyLink’s plans for $77.8 million in yearly construction monies from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Funds. 

A progress report on a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) project will be given. Elizabeth L. Smith, chief of staff, office of the chancellor at Missouri University Science and Technology,  will speak concerning Project Lead the Way. STEM programs are a nationwide program to increase America’s proficiency in these categories of education. Representatives and advocates of Project Lead The Way from Missouri S&T in Rolla will make remarks.  Other statewide and regional persons knowledgeable in STEM efforts also will bring the SOAR group up-to-date.

President of SOAR, superintendent of Houston Schools, Scott Dill, reports that the meeting is very important on the two critical topics. Past president of SOAR, Mary Shied of West Plains, says that rural high speed Internet is “critical and significant” for the area and that STEM educational programs are “basic to economic development” for the region.

All persons interested in education and communications fields are invited.

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