Internet | St. Louis Public Radio


High-speed internet is only available for residents living within the city limits of West Plains in south-central Missouri. September 2017
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.

Emily Hall helps a patron at her St. Charles bookstore. She's concerned that a repeal of net neutrality could hurt her ability to reach patrons and event-goers. (Nov. 8, 2017)
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On a recent morning, Emily Hall filled two online orders at Main Street Books, the St. Charles shop her family has owned for four years. As she worked, customers came to buy books and chat about upcoming author events they’d heard about or seen on the store’s website.

But Hall fears that her bustling store could see a drop in business if the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday votes to repeal net neutrality, landmark rules that guarantee an open internet.

Flight board lambert airport
File photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Passengers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport are on the verge of getting more time to surf the internet for free. A plan to increase the cap on daily Wi-Fi access is expected to go into effect next month, pending approval by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The bill making its way through City Hall increases the free daily limit to an hour, instead of the current 20 minutes. The change has been prompted by travelers, who want more time online before they have to start paying.

Sister Marysia Weber  discussed the psychological impacts of the internet and technology on children and adults alike.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

August 23rd marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of the World Wide Web. Much has changed in that time, including how much of the day humans spend with screens, the internet and technology.

Sister  Marysia Weber, the director of the Office of Consecrated Life with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry with Washington University, said that she’s seen a big difference in patients with behaviors that she did not anticipate.

internet shopping
Screen capture

Consumers may like the ability to shop online and avoid paying state and local sales taxes, and many online retailers may like the competitive advantage the arrangement provides them over “bricks and mortar” businesses across the country, but U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. says the situation has a significant price.

“It’s really not fair to say to that store down the block that’s paying rent and paying property taxes and collecting sales tax (that) we’re going to put them at a disadvantage to their Internet counterparts.”

St. Louis educator Julie Smith joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh to talk about her new book on media literacy.
Alex Heuer

Earlier this week President Barack Obama announced his decision to change the name of North America’s tallest peak from Mt. McKinley to Denali, the native Alaskan name.

Dan Chace | Flickr

Nearly a third of Missourians - or about 1.8 million people - lack access to high-speed internet, according to a report last month from the Federal Communications Commission. That means Missouri ranks 15th among all states for the highest percentage of residents not served by fiber networks that can deliver such high speeds.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 18, 2013: WASHINGTON – Internet gambling, which was dealt a heavy blow by Congress a few years ago but granted a reprieve by the Justice Department in 2011, is now facing another round of scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Senate’s approval of a “marketplace fairness” bill to make it easier for states to collect taxes on internet sales now shifts the focus to the U.S. House and – ultimately – to states such as Missouri that don’t enforce their existing internet sales taxes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – As the Senate moved toward May approval of the “marketplace fairness” bill, which aims to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes, backers agreed that the plan would require action from the Missouri Legislature to have much impact in the state.

“I think this does provide the tools that the legislature needs” to modify the existing – but unenforced – Missouri state tax on internet purchases, said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a cosponsor of the Senate legislation.

Internet ammunition sales draw scrutiny

Jan 15, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 15, 2013 - Proposed legislation to regulate online purchases of ammunition and high-capacity magazines is bringing new attention to a growing cyberspace ammo market that has operated with little government oversight.

Commentary: Flights of fantasy frequently crash

Oct 11, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2012 - In his Post-Dispatch column last Sunday, Bill McClellan wrote about a 50-year-old man who’d been placed on probation for two counts of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance.

The man had never been involved in anything like this before. His wife of 25 years is a teacher; they have a grown daughter and a 17-year-old son. Now, this outwardly normal middle-age citizen is a registered sex offender thanks to misguided dalliances in cyberspace.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 26, 2012 - In 2008, the “How much information?” project was created to measure the world’s output of data, and its findings were astonishing The study reported that in 2008, the average American consumed an average of 12 hours worth of information a day. This figure corresponds to approximately 100,500 words or 34 gigabytes, coming from more than 20 different sources.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 1, 2012 - Think back to those olden days before the internet – all the way back to 1992 – and ponder what you would have decided if presented with these options about how the online world would evolve.

You could have a system regulated by people who will keep it safe, with no viruses, no fraud and no Nigerian princes seeking to share their wealth if you would only give them your personal information. Or you could have a system that is totally open, controlled by users like you, not from some power on high.

Score one for Silicon Valley

Jan 22, 2012

Over the past week, Silicon Valley's internet powerhouses out-communicated Hollywood, stopped internet piracy bills pushed by the big studios and even prodded the Republican presidential candidates and President Barack Obama to agree on something -- that Hollywood's internet piracy bills threatened the innovation of the web.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2012 - WASHINGTON - In the wake of internet "blackout" protests Wednesday, some key lawmakers -- including U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill. -- abruptly withdrew their support or came out against legislation that aims to shut down sites that share pirated content.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says more than 75 percent of the state has access to broadband Internet service.

The governor provided an update on the state’s efforts to expand access to rural portions of Missouri during today's second annual broadband summit, held in Jefferson City.  He told the audience of more than 300 business and government leaders that his broadband initiative has enabled small businesses and larger corporations across the state to compete for grants to expand broadband access.

Illinois broadband connections outnumber landlines

Mar 22, 2011
(via Flickr/Anderson Mancini)

The number of broadband Internet connections in Illinois has exceeded the number of phone landlines for the first time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2011 - I previously posted about the difference between "visual" and "interactive" after the election. A very good New York Times graphic making the rounds was being called a great example of interactive storytelling. It had a next button.

By that standard, I said, a book or a newspaper is interactive because you need to turn the page. Something that's interactive can show different levels of complexity, but often requires the viewer to dig out the information he's interested in.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 4, 2010 - The Obama administration is in the process of drafting new legislation that would broaden the reach of the federal government's eavesdropping capabilities to include encrypted messages delivered over the Internet.

Under the prospective legislation, as reported in the New York Times, all online communication services would be required to provide back doors to their services, which would allow them to comply if served with a wiretap order. Affected services would include social networking websites like Facebook, encrypted email providers such as BlackBerry and "peer-to-peer" services like Skype.

Last week I was frustrated trying to bring the news to as many people as possible. In preparing coverage for the upcoming election, I kept running into unexpected problems.

As some of you likely encountered, last weekend construction wreaked havoc on Interstate 55/70 between Missouri and Illinois. Though I did my best to listen closely on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning as KMOX gave us repeated fair warning, all I retained was a 90 percent certainty that it was going to be a mess, and it was going to start at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Beacon blog: A matter of place

Aug 23, 2010

Last week, the location wars got serious. The same day that Foursquare was featured in the New York Times Fashion & Style section, Facebook launched its Places application.

While the bulk of the Beacon's stories are on , you might be surprised to learn that you can find our work in many other ways. As I said last week, communication requires a sender and a receiver. It also requires  that the sender transmit in a medium the receiver will actually receive.

Beacon blog: A new turn on the technology path

Aug 9, 2010

True confessions: I'm a technology evangelist.

I get really, really excited when technology is used to take an everyday need, habit, task or interest and make it somehow easier, better, indispensable, more accessible. Often, this takes things to the next level, creating space for new thoughts, new habits, new norms. Wash, rinse, repeat.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sun. Nov. 9 - The 2008 election marks the year that digital politics finally achieved its full potential. For many political junkies, the Web, with its constant stream of election information and interactivity, was the best place to follow the campaign. Furthermore, the election marked the convergence of the old broadcast media and the new Web-based media. As more than one commentator has noted, in 2008, the old divisions, e.g., online vs. off, pop culture vs. civic culture, have been blurred to the point of disappearance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 13, 2008 - Once upon a time, there were people who earnestly believed that the Internet would usher a new era of politics, one marked by more deliberation and reasoned discourse. This would, it was hoped, lead to better political decisions by the electorate and its leaders. These advocates also believed that technology would level the playing field between corporations and everyone else when it came to democratic speech.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 14, 2008 - The 2008 presidential election campaign marks a watershed in the development of the Internet as a force in American politics. Previously, the Net was touted as having the potential to shape politics and government in the same way that it altered commerce. However, its promise to change politics was never quite fulfilled -- at least, not until the current presidential election.

Some might assert that this development represents a democratizing trend. However, there are troubling aspects that warrant attention by both the public and policymakers.