City to launch broadband study; public input sought regarding high-speed internet services

Bellingham community members are invited to participate in a survey regarding current internet access and potential opportunities for increasing availability of high-speed internet services. A survey is available now in English and Spanish at www.cob.org/broadbandsurvey and will remain open until Dec. 31, 2021. Paper copies are available at all Bellingham Public Library sites or can be provided upon request.

The purpose of the broadband survey is to assess current use and access to high-speed internet as well as provide information about future opportunities to increase access. All residents are strongly encouraged to participate, including those without current internet access. The survey, which is for the person in each household or business who determines the internet service, should take ten to fifteen minutes to complete.

“High-speed internet is an essential service. Feedback from individuals, households and businesses will inform planning efforts on a local and regional level,” said Public Works Director Eric Johnston. “The information gathered in this survey will be critical to the ongoing work of the Bellingham Broadband Advisory Workgroup.” In 2020, the Bellingham City Council voted to form a Broadband Advisory Workgroup to evaluate strategies for improving the availability, affordability, equitability and quality of broadband throughout the city. The workgroup has been meeting monthly to:

  • Evaluate whether municipally owned broadband infrastructure would further the goals of improved access;
  • Address policy considerations and the financial costs and benefits;
  • Assess current conditions, including the City’s existing fiber optic network; and
  • Develop findings and recommendations for Bellingham City Council and public consideration.

The Broadband Workgroup will use the survey results to develop recommendations for Bellingham City Council consideration, including proposed targets for broadband speeds, quality of broadband, affordability, access and equity.

To find out more about the broadband survey, or to request a paper copy please contact AskPW@cob.org or call 360-778-7700.

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