Mississippi has the nation’s lowest percentage of households with Internet access at 46 percent, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. And it has the second-lowest percentage of households with high-speed access at 33 percent.
So it’s not surprising that Mississippians who use the Internet to find public records sometimes have a hard time. According to an article in the Commercial Appeal by Emily Le Coz, a recent national survey found that while many states put basic public records on the Internet, Mississippi still requires people to request most documents by mail or in person, and sometimes the state requires people to pay for the records.
Internet access, like any other product, is subject to the law of supply and demand. Mississippi is a not only a low income state, it is a rural state. And that latter fact may have something to do with the availability of Internet access, according to Dr. Marty Wiseman, Director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University. In a recent column he said, “The startlingly negative reaction to the investment in the extension of high-speed Internet services into rural areas contained in the stimulus package clearly reflects a loss of reverence for the nobility of rural life.” By the way, his column is on the Internet. Just click here to read the entire column.