Broadband survey doesnt really light the way |

Broadband survey doesnt really light the way

Christine StanleySierra Sun

Results of Truckees most recent telecommunication survey are in, and it appears that nearly half the Internet users in town would favor the addition of a fiber-to-the-user system. The Truckee Donner Public Utility District hired a private company to administer a random telephone survey in September and October of last year in order to gauge public interest in the districts proposed plan to build a fiber-optic system. More than 400 residents, both full-time and part-time, were surveyed. Most survey participants said they are happy with their current service, but that they desire other options for cable, telephone and Internet services.Their needs are being met, but that being said, most would like another option, said Todd Morris, a consultant from SDS Research, the company that developed and administered the survey. The district has been discussing a plan to develop the infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet, telephone and cable service to Truckee residents for more than five years, but a number of legal and financial set-backs have prohibited the district from moving forward.The district had business and financing plans in place, and customers were surveyed three years ago, but it is possible trends have changed, and the board is now in a position to re-evaluate details and options, said district general manager Peter Holzmeister. SDS Research would not make a recommendation for action to the board, but noted they received an interest and willingness from the public. You either do or do not believe that what we are considering is the gold standard. And if you dont then I think you are missing something, said director Ron Hemig. But if the costs are wacky then we cant do this. Its a new look at cost and design that are of interest to me.The district is currently in the appeal phase of a lawsuit brought in 2004 by Suddenlink, previously Cebridge Connections. The competing media provider took legal action over what it saw to be faulty business plans on the side of the district. Suddenlink cited the right to provide a non-utility service as a major point of contention.The case has hindered the district in its ability to seek financing to build the projects infrastructure, but the district anticipates a decision on the appeal this year, according to Holzmeister.We are continuing to watch the technologies and continuing to watch the prices. We continue to monitor other communities that have already launched, and we are seeing success out there, Holzmeister said. The technology is changing, so we would expect there to be a lower price to deploy.The board discussed the surveys findings, but did not take further action. No mention was made of the next time that the topic would be re-examined.

The districts telecommunication survey was broken into three parts focused on telephone, Internet and cable service. The data suggested that: One-third of the population would be likely to use a telephone service offered by the PUD in partnership with another provider. Nearly half of the population would be likely to use an Internet service offered by the PUD in partnership with another provider. Nearly half of the population would be likely to use a cable service offered by the PUD in partnership with another provider Customers who have Suddenlink for their cable or Internet service are more likely to switch to the PUD than customers with other providers, particularly AT&T.

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District hired a private company to administer a non-biased telecommunications survey to 401 Truckee residents. The point of the survey was to assess consumer satisfaction with their current telephone, cable and Internet services, and whether they would consider switching services if they were provided by the district.This is what some people had to say in the survey: There would be no point in changing if the rates were the same. I would really like to see the PUD provide competition, but the rates tell the tale. I do not wish to give the PUD any more of my money. I only get two television stations, and half the time they dont work. If you offered a better rate, then I would change. We really would like better Internet.

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