Letters to the Editor - Sierra Booster
Letters to the Editor

Detailed report and statistics on internet in Loyalton

Hi Janice,

I've taken the liberty of putting some information together for you regarding broadband in Loyalton that could grasp the attention of your readers.

Loyalton is in a situation that's pretty familiar to any person living in rural America. The average download speed in Loyalton is 3.71 Mbps, less than ⅕ of the FCC requirement for “broadband” which is 25Mbps. Most households have just 1 wired provider option (SkyFiber) with prices ranging as high as $149 for 15Mbps, which most would consider too expensive for the value received.

Without adequate broadband, businesses do not have the ability to expand and the city cannot attract new business. Publicly owned networks are an option, especially in rural communities.

In Loyalton, local companies like Plumas Sierra Telecommunications are slowly expanding their service in the area, constructing miles of fiber optic network and purchasing abandoned TV coaxial cable systems. However they are focusing mainly on fiber connections to businesses since construction to
rural homes is generally not economically feasible. (https://www.plumassierratelecommunications.com/plumas%E2%80%90sierra-addresses-broadband-challenges-in-sierra-county/)

Public-private partnerships are an option, especially in rural communities. Take for example Cities like San Leandro, that have experienced rapid growth in the last 5 years with their 10 gig fiber network attracting both industry and residents. Local companies collaborate with the city by using publicly owned conduit. (https://muninetworks.org/tags-110)

So what can residents do? Loyalton residents can form groups and lobby local legislators to adopt “dig once” policies. The 'Dig Once' policy helps to bridge digital divide by mandating that anytime a road is dug up, fiber is laid in the ground to be used later. Residents can also encourage local legislators to invest in public-private partnerships. This is where a town or city builds out a “backbone” fiber network on major streets, and leases them to providers, making it economically feasible for companies like Plumas Sierra Telecommunications to build more cables in between the street and houses.

If you'd like, I could chat on the phone further with you, or I could also send in a 500-700 word op-ed if that's preferred. Our agenda is to get more public attention on this issue, so anything I can do to help you publish!

Thank you, Ana

Submitted: 12/13/18
Article By: Sierra Booster