Dear Los Alamos County Council:
We Need Help With Broadband
In this open letter we ask that the Council make access to broadband for residents of the County a priority.
Living with the ongoing pandemic we find ourselves reliant on the Internet for many aspects of life including employment, education, social connections and entertainment. We find both that our broadband connections are inadequate and that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available in the County offer various combinations of high prices, hostile customer service and low data rates.
We acknowledge that Los Alamos County is not unique in having bad access to broadband. We recommend the podcast by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Why Does My Internet Suck? which explains the situation in the United States, namely:
- ISPs in the United States generally offer lower data rates at higher prices than service available in much of the rest of the developed world.
- Most ISPs in the US are regional monopolies.
- The choices that American policymakers and tech companies have made have ended up limiting access to reliable broadband.
As the podcast explains, like most Americans, we have poor ISP options because of failures at the federal level. However, because Los Alamos County owns the poles and conduits that Century-Link, Xfinity, etc. use to deliver TV, telephone and Internet, we have an advantage in circumventing failures at the national level.
We are pleased that broadband was discussed at two recent County Council meetings in the following agenda items:
- October 27 work session:
- Discussion of Broadband presented by Steven Lynne, Deputy County Manager, at the request of Councilor Randall Ryti. In watching this meeting, one discovers that neither County Staff nor Council deeply understands the broadband issues in the County. Mr. Lynne observed that Council has indicated that broadband is not a priority issue.
- November 17 regular session:
- Presentation by Kelly Beierschmitt, Deputy Director, Operations, Los Alamos National Laboratory . At this meeting Dr. Beierschmitt said that LANL plans to support having staff work remotely, and those arrangements will continue after the pandemic passes. He described in particular LANL plans to support access from Espanola.
In summary, this is the situation:
- The pandemic has showcased the importance of broadband access.
- Broadband access in Los Alamos County is not satisfactory. The offerings are poor compared to those in much of the rest of the developed world.
- Much of the rest of America also suffers the same inadequacies because of failures at the federal level.
- Because Los Alamos County already owns the right of way and much of the infrastructure necessary for and used by communications utilities, Council is in a much better position to address the inadequacies than leaders in most other communities. Like Los Alamos, Chattanooga owns the local electric utility, and they have used that advantage to offer 300Mbps up and down to homes in the city for $58/month.
And here are the County Council actions we suggest:
- Council will be setting priorities at Jan 12, 2021 meeting. At that meeting establish broadband access in the County as a priority.
- Direct County staff to develop and maintain expert knowledge about broadband in the County. The areas of expertise should include
- What ISPs currently operate in the County?
- What do those ISPs offer?
- Which ISPs are residents of the County currently using? What level of service are they paying for? And what is the quality of the service they get?
- What technology are ISPs using and how do they connect off of the hill?
- What organizational structures could the County use to deliver broadband?
- What technologies could the County use to deliver broadband?
- How could a County owned ISP connect off of the hill?
- Explore jointly investigating the questions in the previous item with LANL.
- Explore collaborations with ISPs that currently operate in the County.
- Find out how other communities are providing broadband. A quick search yields a map that “tracks a variety of ways in which local governments have invested in wired telecommunications”.
|175||Anders Niklasson||Broadband should be considered as any other essential utility such as water or electricity.|
|174||Ean Nickols||This proposal would greatly help schools and students that have to teach and learn from home. Lots of children have unstable connections at home which delay their learning and will not prepare them for future schooling or real life. The teachers have the same problem, meaning that they can't teach until their internet connection is restored - possibly taking hours. Good luck!|
|173||Darcy Katzman||LA Net|
|170||Kristin Henderson||Go Andy!|
|169||Nona Girardi||comcast/ Xfinity. it's not reliably adequate for work or even for casaul use|
|167||George Chandler||ComCast. Council needs to survey the shoddy sommunications infrastructure already in place. Unbelievable!|
|162||Sarah Gustafson||Century Link ADSL. According to their tech folks, our neighborhood box has a top speed of 10Mbps, and that this is a limitation of the County infrastructure, rather than what Century Link could provide. To echo an earlier signer, please help everyone get decent internet!|
|157||Barbara Lemmick||CenturyLink. Slows to a crawl at peak times|
|155||Marian Anghel||My ISP is Comcast.|
|152||Natalie Dimitruck||Comcast, unreliable and twice as expensive as everywhere else!|
|150||Dawn Jones||Please help get everyone decent internet|
|146||Mary Grow||I both help my children with their coursework and, in recent months, have been providing tele-medicine to the community. Video and audio have been cutting out, limiting both of these critical capabilities. This includes my children frequently loosing any ability to understand their teachers. This effort would profoundly improve our town's infrastructure and be a wise investment in its future.|
|141||Sven Vogel||Switched from CL 3Mbit/s (measured 1-3MBit) and their fastest option for my address in WR to Xfinity 227 MBit/s measured for a 200MBit/s plan at $50/month for first year. Tracking ping times to 18.104.22.168 24/7 and so far no flucations with XFinity, constant at ~20ms. CL was 55 to 3500 ms. Not too unhappy so far, but can always be better!|
|140||Deb Rivera||We currently have Centurylink and it is horrible.|
|138||KELLEY WEAVER||I live in apartments on 16th street. I am paying $85/month to Comcast for internet. My landlord pays for the cable and tv. It seems like a lot to pay.|
|133||Joe Borovsky||Comcast. When the weather is bad, my internet is bad.|
|132||Patrick Avery||Xfinity 1G, 600M highest measured|
|131||Los Alamos Resident|
|130||Markus Berndt||Xfinity 70 mbps|
|129||Jeff Heikoop||Centurylink customer|
|128||David Schiferl||centurylink. White Rock must be part of the plan.|
|127||Sheila Schiferl||centurylink - too slow to stream|
|122||Brandon Smith||100 mbps Comcast|
|117||Richard Sayre||Internet service in LA is very unreliable limiting the development of local online businesses.|
|116||Elisabeth Chrien||Century Link|
|113||Karyl Ann Armbruster||Century Link through DISH|
|112||Jane Riechman||Comcast isnt my favorite|
|110||Adam Auden||Xfinity Internet + Voice Performance Plus Saver|
|108||Thomas Beach||Earthlink DSL|
|107||Joyce Guzik||Earthlink DSL|
|106||Lisa Inkret||Xfinity, $99/month. drops almost every weekday at 1 and has slow streaming on during peak weekend times.|
|104||Annette Malone||Comcast...connectivity issues.|
|103||Rob Trujillo||Century Link|
|102||Kevin Kaufeld||I use 100 Mbps xfinity currently.|
|100||Allan Saenz||LANET 10GB/10Gb Download and upload,|
|99||Dan Morgan||To help make this community more attractive please consider Broadband for the residents and businesses. The commercial offerings availalable to us are Expensive, Poorly serviced and do not meet the current and future needs of Los Alamos. Thank you.|
|97||Jim George||CL, pay for 20, get 8-12 most of the time, upload is 1.6. According to the FCC, the definition of broadband internet is a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. CL is way below our needs. Broadband was a priority some years ago, and fiber was installed for county and businesses along central & trinity; no I help for residents!|
|95||Dean Obermeyer||Comcast-15 Mbps $70 per month|
|91||Holly Koster||For being a Science city, I'm surprised this has|
|87||david Hanson||Century link, limited to 12mbps|
|85||Susie Edwards||I have terrible service at home. I don’t know how anyone working from home would be able to effectively work.|
|84||Marilyn & Barham Smith||CenturyLink|
|81||David V Fox|
|80||Russell Virgilio||Comcast, goeS down a lot, kids in school, miss assignments and class|
|76||George Marsden||Xfinity - it would be nice to have internet that does not randomly drop all the time.|
|71||Matthew Calef||Currently seeing less than claimed 50 MB/s|
|64||Leslie Megan Green|
|63||David Powell||CenturyLink DSL service is adequate at our house -- only because we are close to the telephone building. Our pandemic experience will radically change how people go to work: the office may largely be a thing of the past. Hence, high speed internet service to all residences is vital to our economic fu|
|56||Ed Birnbaum||Xfinity Triple Play-speed and service has been adequate for our needs|
|53||Janete Macek||Our plan is with Century Link.|
|50||David Collins||CenturyLink DSL|
|49||Stephen Fehnel||Xfinity, they told me I didn't need unlimited and added a data cap. Then charged me because I went over the data cap. Now I pay for an additional package to have unlimited again.|
|44||Thomas Mueller||Xfinity—far too high cost for service|
|41||Doris Corley Jackson||Century Link|
|37||Jean Dewart||Century Link|
|35||Alan Hack||Years ago I quit DSL because it was slow and unreliable. I have been using Xfinity/Comcast for several years. I am satisfied with the speed and reliabilit, but I realise that peformance varies considerably depending on where you are located in town. This is clearly something that Xfinity should look into. My chief complaint is the high cost, I have to pay extra to high speed.|
|34||Zena Thomas||For a county that is stellar in any way you look at it, I just don’t understand why we don’t have stellar connectivity. Please give this a high priority. One example I can give happened just a few minutes ago while attempting to FaceTime with my daughter. The connectivity was so bad we had to hang up. I will be watching closely and sincerely hope you will give this a high priority.|
|33||G. Alex Janevski|
|32||Eduardo Santiago||Full-time telecommuter since January 2001; at first via IDSL, then 1.5Mbps ADSL, now 10Mbps ADSL. It has been challenging and discouraging to accept that this slowness is due to political, not technical reasons.|
|30||Ted Galvez||Time to upgrade the 1970's infrastructure.|
|29||Mary Jo Waltman|
|23||Robert Bourque||I have Xfinity. It's mediocre.|
|20||Angelique McKinzie||I have Comcast. I have noticed a considerable connection issue on the rare days I have off to enjoy Netflix or what have you. It has always seemed strange to have issues of this I'll in this town|
|18||Luke Koenig||LANET 100/100 Mbps. Either the media box in my house or the neighborhood is inadequate to provide 100/100 - learned from recent service. upload speed tanks in speed tests|
|16||chris lovejoy||irregular service, unexplained outages, poor speed at high-uses times of day|
|15||Michael Donnelly||Our broadband infrastructure outdated, past time to upgrade.|
|14||Nicolas Hengartner||The work at home has made us aware of our ISP options, and their failure to deliver good bandwidth at a fair price. A believe that a town that prides itself of "discoveries are made here" should have internet bandwidth to share our discoveries with the nation and the world.|
|12||Pieter Swart||Reliable broadband access is now key to productivity and the ability to work from home. My team includes staff who live all over northern NM. Even at my house in White Rock, when the wind blows I intermittently lose my internet connect and this seriously affects my ability to do my work. The situation is even more unpredictable for my staff who live in Espanola and Velarde.|
|11||Christopher Chadwick||It's 2020, and tee live next to one of the most premier labs in the world. Why don't we have fiber at every house?|
|1||Andrew M. Fraser||LANet Air Fiber 100/100 Mbps (speedtest reports much less)|