Demetrio Martinez installs Sandy fiber.Sandy Shows Support for Broadband posted on 03/01/2015
The City of Sandy started its municipal internet service provider, known as SandyNet, in 2003 and is now in the middle of upgrading to a fiber optic network.
But while Sandy’s residents have enjoyed the successful venture into internet service, some states have laws that prohibit municipalities from even offering it.
Now Sandy has added its support alongside the Next Century Cities (an initiative supporting communities seeking fast, affordable and reliable internet) and 38 other cities in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to respect community choice for internet infrastructure.
Mayor Bill King and City Council President Jeremy Pietzold signed their names to a letter which was sent prior to the FCC meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 26 when it was expected to consider a memorandum opinion and order addressing petitions filed by two municipal broadband providers to preempt provisions of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee restricting communities from providing broadband services.
“This group is all in favor of expanding broadband service,” Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson said. “We think that’s a worthy endeavor.”
The ruling will have no impact on SandyNet.
The letter reads, in part:
“It is increasingly clear that ultra-fast, next-generation Internet networks are the key to building and sustaining thriving communities, as essential as good healthcare, great schools, and reliable public safety. Indeed, in the coming decades, the Internet will increasingly become a platform for delivering these and other core services to our citizens, in addition to providing an onramp to the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow. Providing high-quality Internet is inarguably essential to safeguarding the public interest in the years and decades to come.”
Atkinson said Sandy’s success in the field shows “how it can happen.”
The service had approximately 1,200 customers on the old wireless system and is already up to 1,800 signups for the new network.
“Our expectations were very much met, with people demanding the service,” Atkinson said. “It’s gone a little faster than we thought it would.”
The new service will provide internet service at approximately 20 times the speed of a wireless service, and Atkinson sees the new capabilities as a good marketing tool to bring new business to the city.
“We really see this hopefully as an economic development tool moving forward,” he said.
by Garth Guibord/MT