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Does Minden need more fiber?

by Minden Press-Herald

Broadband Internet study under way

Minden’s Economic Development Director, James Graham is spearheading a survey to gauge public interest in fiber-optic cables for internet services in Minden.

Fiber-optic cables are more reliable and faster than DSL or broadband services. A fiber-optic internet connection transfers data through thin glass wires inside a larger protective cable. The information is transferred through light signals within these wires.

According to a paper being circulated by the city, DSL phone line internet has an upload and download speed range 3-9 megabits per second. Broadband cable wires have an speed range of 20-38 megabits per second. Fiber optic cable speeds start at 45 megabits per second and go up to 1000 megabits per second, the paper read.

“There are different types of models but the franchise agreement model, where we identify companies through a bidding process to have access to our customers and infrastructure is the one we’re interested in,” Graham said.

He explained the city is not going on the market to borrow large sums of money.

Franchising businesses to use the infrastructure we already have such as poles would mean internet providers would provide ongoing income through franchisee access.

“We are not interested in getting into the internet business, it’s expensive to provide customer service and repairs, ” Graham said.

Fiber-optic internet is usually available specifically in densely-populated urban areas. It provides increased security in addition to increased speed. Demand and need for this type of internet service is expected to increase over time. It will also become more cost-effective as maintenance on aging copper lines of DSL and broadband increases.

“In our banking community we have businesses that have software that consumers do not have the capacity to utilize without fiber-optics,” Graham explained, “There are students who can’t do homework at home with their tablets because of the rate of speed and capacity they have in their homes right now.”

“It brings the city into the twenty-first century and attracts businesses that use fiber-optics. Business people, especially younger business people are not going to stay around without it. The benefits are economic and social.

Fiber-optic internet also does not rely on electricity, so power outages would have little effect on connection.

“We’ve had overwhelming public response. Businesses either want fiber-optic internet or have it but want it on more affordable terms. Minden is worthy of having this advantage. We have to be competitive and this strengthens Minden’s competitive edge,” Graham said.

The survey is open to residents of Minden on page 3 or online at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4532716/Minden-Webster-Parish-Broadband-Survey.

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