In general, the results of a wide-ranging survey on internet use has revealed that the state of broadband service in Prosper is above average, with the vast majority of residents served through a fixed connection such as cable, DSL, fiber or other fixed networks.
The results of a months-long voluntary survey show that 96 percent of Prosper residents use these fixed connections, seen as more reliable than the non-fixed connections such as dial-up or mobile only service. Only a tiny fraction of residents reported no internet connection at home.
Significantly, over 91 percent of respondents reported using their home connection for at least some work, whether through a self-employed situation or through employment by a company, outside business or corporation.
That familiarity and dependence on internet service has led to resident concerns regarding lack of competition, download speed, monthly costs, and customer service issues. In response, the Town Council appointed a Broadband Committee to study the issue and make recommendations for expanding and improving broadband infrastructure in Prosper. Connected Nation was selected to conduct a wide-ranging survey and report its findings through its Connected Community program.
The survey compared Prosper to a set of benchmark cities in response to residents’ inquiries regarding the Town’s efforts to encourage internet service providers to improve and expand services within the community. The survey is seen as the first step in the overall process, setting the baseline for internet use at the household and small business levels.
Among its findings, the survey found that local download speeds are above the national average but were beset with inconsistencies during the time of day when demand is at its highest.
It also revealed that the cost of internet service in Prosper as a whole, tended to slightly surpass the national average. Nationally, residents in surveyed cities paid an average of $57 a month, compared to Prosper’s monthly average of $70.
Some of the disparities may be attributed to the fact that newer neighborhoods are installed with the latest technology. To address that, broadband providers plan to expand into established neighborhoods, upgrading their service with newer equipment and technology. In addition, the construction of new cell towers and small cell network nodes are anticipated address some of these inconsistencies.
Armed with the survey’s findings, the Broadband Committee will review options to expand service to unserved and underserved residents. Possible strategies include: public-private partnerships to improve service; establishing free Wi-Fi service in Town parks; pursuing a competitive grant program to secure additional funding; and providing website and social media classes for local businesses.
The survey results are posted online at http://www.prospertx.gov/broadband-survey/.