I was encouraged by the broadband presentation on Tuesday June 30. Both the County’s Broadband Manager, Jerry Smith, and the CTC consultant, Patrick Mulhearn, were knowledgeable and well prepared.
While we should avoid running an obvious push survey, I’d like to use the survey to get the community thinking about issues like privacy, censorship and total budget. The survey is part of an effort to find how County staff can support better broadband for Los Alamos County. To do that, it should tell us:
- What ISP and other communication services are currently used in Los Alamos County
- How much members of the community are currently paying for services
- How satisfied residents are with current service
- What present and future needs are
I offer the following suggestions on the survey as an advocate for broadband in Los Alamos who is a knowledgeable interested citizen rather than an expert.
- Put a link to the online survey in each of the roughly 8,000 utility bills the DPU sends out. Cover either a sample of or all of the small number who can’t/won’t use an online survey from home by hand-holding at the Municipal building.
- Allow people to say that they object to County involvement in broadband. Q: Check all that you agree with:
- For profit utilities will provide appropriate communication services and Los Alamos County government should minimize its role in the business.
- I am satisfied with my current ISP.
- Los Alamos County should at least have staff expertise in broadband and electronic communication to oversee franchise agreements and support development of broadband options for the community.
- I want Los Alamos County to actively participate in the broadband utility market.
- Ask how easy it is to find availability and pricing information.
- Get enough information about each users ISP contract to enable the County to start providing information about what’s available to the public. Q: If you don’t have Internet service skip to the next question.
- What is the name of your ISP?
- What speeds does your ISP claim they provide up/down?
- How much is your ISP bill per month?
- Does that bill include other services, eg, modem rental, phone, cable?
- What is the duration of your ISP contract?
- Get information about the rest of the electronic communication/content budget. Q: For each service listed here: Indicate if you have the service; How much you pay for the service per month; If it is part of a package:
- Landline telephone
- Cell-phone (total number and total cost per month)
- Cable television
- Streaming service, eg, Netflix
- News and magazines, eg, Wall Street Journal
- Other services delivered electronically
- Compare your experience with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities to your experience with your ISP.
- Do you trust your ISP with respect to: Privacy; Censorship; Pricing