Charlie Pratus, owner of Pratus Insurance Services, Inc., uses broadband internet on a regular basis at his office.
Charlie Pratus, owner of Pratus Insurance Services, Inc., uses broadband internet on a regular basis at his office.

Lampasas city and Economic Development Corp. officials are promoting a technology survey that would determine the level of interest in faster broadband internet in the community.

Open until February 2019, the online survey is available to anyone who lives, operates a business or owns property in the city of Lampasas.

“We wanted to figure out a solution for the lack of redundancy, speed and service provided by the limited amount of service providers in the community,” Economic Development Director Mandy Walsh said.

The LEDC has sought the expertise of Foresite Group Inc., an international network solutions consulting company, to determine the city’s potential for a fiber-optic network and to design the network.

Charlie Pratus, owner of Pratus Insurance Services, Inc. and member of the EDC Board of Directors, said the costs of installing fiber-optic infrastructure may be high, and the city and EDC can’t commit until they know a telecommunications company will step in to lease the system.

“It will not be run by the city,” Walsh said. “We cannot legally run a network. We can have our own infrastructure and lease to providers.”

In order to attract what Walsh calls tier one telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon to lease the network, the population of Lampasas has to demonstrate measurable interest in faster broadband service.

“Each neighborhood has its own take rate,” Walsh said. “Each neighborhood needs to agree on if they would like better options.”

Neighborhood groupings include the downtown area, west and east Lampasas, Sunrise Hills, Fawn Acres, Diamond Ridge and many others.

The purpose of the survey is to determine whether enough citizens in each neighborhood are interested, she said.

“If we reach these [ideal] take rates, we can attract more providers in the community,” Walsh said. “We want to find other providers to come into the city to have better options for our businesses and residents. [These providers] have to see there is enough demand in this market.”

One survey response is available for each city address. Questions on the survey include satisfaction with the speed, reliability and price of current internet service providers, the cost of internet service for that particular household, the download speed used by that household and the primary reason the household uses the internet.

“You’re not signing up for anything,” Pratus said. “It really is just an interest survey. We’ve got to have people want it [broadband technology] to change in order for it to be monetarily feasible.”

There is no downside to a more advanced fiber-optic network “that we see,” Walsh said on behalf of the city and EDC. “The problem with Lampasas is that we’re not small enough to apply for state funding for rural broadband, but not large enough for multiple tier one providers.

“The city, EDC and private partners need to make this happen ourselves,” Walsh said.

The online survey can be found at the web address: https://highspeedlampasas.servicezones.net/