A roundtable discussion at the West Plains Civic Center moderated by Eighth District Representative Jason Smith and attended by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called for stronger federal efforts to connect rural Americans to high speed internet.

Its panel features leaders who spoke about the rural Internet struggles from the perspectives of business development, education and agriculture. During his introduction, Smith said his district ranks last in Missouri in terms of Internet speed, number of providers and technologies available. Nationwide, he further reported it ranks 407th in the percentage of population with access to the FCC minimum broadband download speed of 25 megabytes.