Vision 2020 to conduct broadband surveys

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Got an opinion on a proposed $35 million broadband project for Austin? Vision 2020 wants to hear it.

Volunteers will conduct a door-to-door survey in Austin Sept. 13-20 to gather feedback on the Gig Austin proposal. The short survey has 11 questions and will help document the level of support for building ultra-broadband infrastructure.

“Community support is vital in order to move forward with the Gig Austin proposal and bring ultra-high-speed internet access to the community,” said Laura Helle, Vision 2020’s director of vision creation, in a press release. “We hope people will take a few minutes to give us their feedback.”Gig-Austin-Logo-4-1-copy1Vision 2020’s Community Wide Technology committee released the results of a feasibility study in July that shows a high-speed fiber network throughout the city of Austin is possible and sustainable. That high-speed data network could provide Internet speeds of up to 1 Gig per second, or hundreds of times faster than normal Internet speeds.

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The project, dubbed Gig Austin, could cost about $35 million to build. The committee also hopes to use state and federal grants, and funding from other partners and nonprofits, to pay for the project. Committee members say they aren’t considering local tax dollars at this time.

The study, done by CCG Consulting, shows Gig Austin is doable but requires about 40 to 50 percent of residents to sign up for the service. In addition, the project could be overseen by a private business, public entity or a co-op of some sort, but committee members say it’s too soon to figure out who would own and operate the network.

Helle has previously said the project will move forward only if there is enough interest among residents.