City survey shows strong interest in fiber networkAug 02, 2022 03:24PM ● By Justin Adams
During its July 13 meeting, the Herriman City Council discussed the results of a community survey on potential fiber network installation plans for the city.
The survey, which ran from May 17-31, garnered over 2,000 responses. The survey was designed to gauge the current need and availability of internet service in Herriman, as well as residents’ and businesses’ interest in a fiber network. The results showed some pretty surprising figures on both fronts.
Internet access is clearly a hugely important issue for Herriman residents, as 53% of the survey’s respondents said they use the internet to work from home full-time. Another 33% said they use the internet to work from home part-time. Taken together, that suggests a huge portion of Herriman residents depend on fast and reliable internet connections for their jobs.
As for what internet provider Herriman residents currently use, 70% of respondents said they use Comcast/Xfinity and another 25% use Century Link. Although that isn’t necessarily by choice, as 20% of respondents said they only have one option for internet service based on where they live. This is one issue that a citywide fiber network would potentially solve, as any number of internet service providers would be able to contract with residents, connecting to their homes through the fiber network. Ideally, this would lead to the cost of internet service decreasing for the average resident, as ISP’s compete against one another.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but there are still some questions left when it comes to the finer details.
For example, the city could contract with a private company to come in and build out the network, which it would own and lease to ISP’s. Or, the city could hire a company to build it, but the city would own the network and operate it like a utility, while still providing residents the freedom to contract with the ISP of their choice.
There’s also the question of whether to make the fiber network installation an opt-in or an opt-out process. Meaning, should residents have to sign up for their home to get connected to the network, or should everyone be connected by default and people must arrange for themselves to be excluded from it.
These are some complicated questions that also financially impact the city and residents. As such, city council members expressed a desire during the meeting to continue exploring the various options available to them before making a final decision. To that end, they instructed the city administration to request proposals to the various companies offering fiber installation services. In the coming weeks and months, the city will receive bids from those companies and possibly some presentations during city council meetings which will help them to make as informed of a decision as possible. λ