CobbFendley said their early research into Victoria’s broadband needs have emphasized residents’ desire for reliable, available and affordable internet, during a Wednesday meeting with city officials and residents.
The city of Victoria recently hired CobbFendley, a civil engineering company, to conduct a feasibility study to assess the broadband needs in Victoria and develop a plan to address them.
“We realize the importance of public engagement,” said Jarod Branstetter, project manager at CobbFendley. “The best information is the candid, unique feedback we get from residents.”
Through their study, CobbFendley plans to elicit feedback from community members about their needs, look at the resources and funding available, and draft a fiber network plan. They expect their report will be completed and available for the public in early September.
“The city has made it clear they do not want to be a service provider,” said Vineeta Ram, executive vice president of Cobb Fendley. “But they also understand that their residents do need a better quality broadband service.”
She envisions a possible public-private partnership to fund the creation of an open access fiber network in Victoria.
“I fully support this,” said Tami Keeling, who attended the meeting and serves on the Victoria Independent School District board of trustees. “This will go a long way towards addressing the digital divide that we know exists in education.”
Residents can visit victoriatx.gov/broadband to take CobbFendley’s survey. Residents who do not have internet access can contact CobbFendley at 713-462-3242 to respond by phone or visit the Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St., for assistance. Survey responses must be submitted by 5 p.m. July 28.