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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”.
Latest Signatures
180 Salvador Zapien Using LANet, very satisified with service.
179 Laura Gonzales Lack of good internet definitely factored into my decision to move away from LA. That being said, I still have family there and care deeply about the community. Please let me know how I can help.
178 Rosalyn Rael
177 Trevor Pacheco Dish
176 Scott Bordenet
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
172 Danny Katzman LANet
171 Christine Mitchell
170 Kristin Henderson Go Andy!
169 Nona Girardi comcast/ Xfinity. it's not reliably adequate for work or even for casaul use
168 Cecile Hemez Centurylink
167 George Chandler ComCast. Council needs to survey the shoddy sommunications infrastructure already in place. Unbelievable!
166 Cristina Olds
165 Margo Batha
164 Mari Jorgensen
163 Denise George
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!
161 Galen Gisler
160 McIlwaine Archer
159 Richard Dunn
158 minesh bacrania comcast
157 Barbara Lemmick CenturyLink. Slows to a crawl at peak times
156 Jeannette Mortensen
155 Marian Anghel My ISP is Comcast.
154 Anil KC
153 John Stafurik
152 Natalie Dimitruck Comcast, unreliable and twice as expensive as everywhere else!
151 David Bruce Xfinity
150 Dawn Jones Please help get everyone decent internet
149 Tina Thaxton
148 Nancy Savoia
147 Deanna Pientka
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.
145 Isaac Storey
144 Isabelle O’Hara
143 David Janecky
142 Andy Fox
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 8.8.8.8 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.
139 Nancy Ambrosiano
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.
137 Allen Valentine
136 Judith Valentine
135 Vivien Chen
134 Charles Tallman
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
126 Michael Mauro
125 Michelle Smith
124 William Godwin
123 Rod Borup
122 Brandon Smith 100 mbps Comcast
121 Louis Borges
120 James O'Connor Comcast
119 Carol Brown
118 Alahna Weller
117 Richard Sayre Internet service in LA is very unreliable limiting the development of local online businesses.
116 Elisabeth Chrien Century Link
115 Cathy Blossom
114 Brandon Mielke
113 Karyl Ann Armbruster Century Link through DISH
112 Jane Riechman Comcast isnt my favorite
111 Paula Hewitt
110 Adam Auden Xfinity Internet + Voice Performance Plus Saver
109 Luce Salas Comcast
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.
105 Rheta Moazzami
104 Annette Malone Comcast...connectivity issues.
103 Rob Trujillo Century Link
102 Kevin Kaufeld I use 100 Mbps xfinity currently.
101 Debra Lowenstein
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.
98 Becky Scarborough
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!
96 Kyle Wheeler
95 Dean Obermeyer Comcast-15 Mbps $70 per month
94 Chris Michel
93 Charlotte Sartor
92 David North
91 Holly Koster For being a Science city, I'm surprised this has
90 Carol Hermes
89 Shelley Schoonover
88 Sydney Schoonover
87 david Hanson Century link, limited to 12mbps
86 Christine DuBois
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
83 DyAnne Short
82 Allan Saenz
81 David V Fox
80 Russell Virgilio Comcast, goeS down a lot, kids in school, miss assignments and class
79 David Grow
78 Whitney Spivey
77 Clifford Hewitt
76 George Marsden Xfinity - it would be nice to have internet that does not randomly drop all the time.
75 Kyle Hickmann xfinity
74 Susan Mendel LANET
73 Richard Macek
72 Karen Rose
71 Matthew Calef Currently seeing less than claimed 50 MB/s
70 Akkana Peck CenturyLink
69 Steven Senator
68 Ramey Sallaz
67 Valerie Wood
66 Mary Stroud
65 Donald Machen Cybermesa.com
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
62 John Gustafson
61 Ann LePage
60 Clay Dillingham
59 Scott Havemann
58 Jane Riese
57 Suzie Havemann
56 Ed Birnbaum Xfinity Triple Play-speed and service has been adequate for our needs
55 Katrin Hammerling
54 Irene Powell
53 Janete Macek Our plan is with Century Link.
52 Jody Benson
51 Jacqueline OKeefe
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.
48 Rebecca Chaiken
47 Dorothy Reilly
46 Nick Mezins
45 Megan Mueller
44 Thomas Mueller Xfinity—far too high cost for service
43 Albert Hsu Centurylink
42 Lynn Jones Comcast
41 Doris Corley Jackson Century Link
40 Kevin Buescher DSL
39 David Jackson
38 DIANE CHAN
37 Jean Dewart Century Link
36 James Cooley LANET
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.
31 Hal Marshall
30 Ted Galvez Time to upgrade the 1970's infrastructure.
29 Mary Jo Waltman
28 Mitchell Trkula CenturyLink
27 John Auxier
26 Rebecca Shankland
25 Joyce Nickols CenturyLink
24 Courtney Richardson
23 Robert Bourque I have Xfinity. It's mediocre.
22 Joe Reynolds
21 Pam Reynolds
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
19 Kei Davis Comcast
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
17 Bobby Philip Comcast
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.
13 Karen Doebling LANET
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?
10 Rick Chartrand Comcast
9 John Pearson
8 William Sedlacek Comcast
7 Ann Greene Comcast
6 Matthew Johnston
5 David Sigeti Earthlink.DSL
4 Rachel Pearson Comcast
3 Marguerite McClay
2 BARBARA CALEF centurylink
1 Andrew M. Fraser LANet Air Fiber 100/100 Mbps (speedtest reports much less)