BY ANDY FRASER
On Saturday, local online newspapers republished a Los Alamos County news release
(https://www.losalamosnm.us/news/broadband_survey_launched) announcing the mailing of a survey “to assess broadband availability, affordability, and accessibility throughout the county” to a randomly selected sample of households. While I have only seen the draft of the survey that was presented at the June 28 County Council meeting, I believe that the survey will be the key to assessing the community’s need and desire for better broadband service in Los Alamos County. I hope those who receive the survey complete it as honestly and as thoroughly as possible. To any survey questions asking if you want Los Alamos County to take responsibility for better broadband here, I encourage you to say yes.
While most who read this will agree that broadband has become a utility, missteps at the federal level have left broadband utilities in the US in worse shape than in the rest of the developed world. Broadband available to residents of Los Alamos County is not even as
good as it is for most other people in the country, and the satisfaction with broadband customer service is worse than satisfaction with the County utility department. You might reasonably ask, “If the root of the problem is decades of missteps at the federal level, why is the solution here at the local level and why is now the time for action?”
Why here: Because Los Alamos County already owns the right of way and much of the infrastructure necessary for and used by communications utilities, we are in a much better position to address the inadequacies than leaders in most other communities.
Why now: The COVID-19 pandemic confined people to their homes leaving them to use broadband connections for work, schooling, and social connections. The experience brought the inadequacies of broadband at the national and local level to everyone’s attention. In response, legislation has provided funds for addressing the inadequacies. Those funds are available now and will not be available in the future.
So, I hope you who have been randomly selected to represent the opinions of the County join me in supporting having Los Alamos County provide a broadband utility.