More business responses needed for broadband survey

by Sarah Fay Campbell

More responses — especially ones from small and medium businesses — are needed for the regional, broadband Internet survey being done by the Three Rivers Regional Commission.

The online survey is part of the Regional Broadband Study that Three Rivers is doing in the 10-county Three Rivers region, which includes Coweta, as well as Meriwether, Heard, Carroll, Troup, Pike, Upson, Lamar, Butts and Spalding counties.

“Small and medium business feedback is just as critical as residential input,” said Robert Hiett of Three Rivers. Nearly 60 percent of businesses “consider broadband when they look for a location.”

“In the business survey, we ask what types of business activities they do with their current broadband, what they would like to do if it was better, and what they see as their broadband challenges,” Hiett said.

The response to the survey has been great so far, with more than 400 responses, said Hiett.

But more business responses are needed. “Broadband is kind of like the electricity for the 21st century,” Hiett said. The study is a way to “have a plan and say here are our assets … here is what we need or would like to do to move things forward and create a better business environment for small and medium businesses.”

The survey will be up for three more weeks. Once all the survey results are in, an advisory committee will be named to review the data and perform a “SWOT” analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The advisory committee will then make recommendations of things that can be done in the region to enhance broadband access and quality, education, and training, and residential service improvements.

You can access the survey online at www.threeriversrc.com. Click on the “Planning” menu and scroll down to “TRRC Business and Residential Survey.”

Or you can access the residential survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6QTY6TB and the business survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XXJ3Q8F.

Those without any access can have a survey mailed to them by calling Three Rivers at 770-692-0510.

In addition to the survey, you can look at the interactive broadband map to see where services are available, who they are available from, and at what speeds.

People have gotten excited about finding their homes or businesses on the mpa, Hiett said. The maps can be a great business recruitment tool. You can view the map at http://digital.georgia.gov/map/.

Those taking the survey, and even those who don’t, are encouraged to test their Internet speed. There are two links: http://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/ or http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/. The first link requires Java; no additional software is required for the speakeasy speed test.



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