How’s your internet speed these days? Are you satisfied with the price you pay and what you get in return?
Novi city officials are asking residents these questions in a broadband survey that takes only about five minutes if you’ve got a decent connection.
If not, all the more reason to participate as this feedback could spur pursuit of fiber connections in the city.
“We are hoping to get as much feedback as we can so we know what residents want and if they are satisfied with the current service,” Humna Anjum, city project engineer and broadband committee member, said. “A lot of people are working from home, students are working from home, and we want to know if they have the speed they need.”
The city council began exploring last year the possibility of bringing faster, more reliable internet service to residents. The quest began with a look at what other communities are doing, including Farmington and Farmington Hills, who partnered to create a fiber optic network and drive down internet and cable prices.
Earlier this year, Novi contracted with Foresight Group, a national multi-discipline engineering company, to analyze current broadband services and provide potential solutions.
The survey, which started in May, is the most important information that will be gathered.
“The biggest benefit is hearing directly from residents. It’s the best info you can get,” Ashley Ball, Foresight broadband engineering program manager, said. “Are they satisfied, and if not, why not? Is it the price they are paying? Is it the speed?”
Ball notes that while some of the main roads in Novi have a fiber connection, many of the residential areas are served by “older legacy networks.” The main provider in Novi is Charter/Spectrum, which does not offer fiber in the city. Comcast/Xfinity is also present in Novi, but likewise doesn’t provide fiber. AT&T offers fiber availability only to a few neighborhoods in Novi.
The traditional copper wires used by these providers can result in very slow internet speeds, particularly as more people are working from home, as streaming services increase, as more homes turn to smart devices for appliances, for medical needs, for security systems and more.
“Fiber to homes will achieve making sure you don’t experience slower internet speeds or a drastic reduction if multiple people in the home or your neighbors are using the internet at the same time,” Ball said.
While some residents’ needs might be currently being met for today’s needs, survey results so far are not showing that and more are needed.
As of Aug. 23, only 359 surveys had been completed. With about 26,500 households in Novi, Ball is hoping for at least 2,600 responses and a good cross-section of the city, with multiple areas represented.
A look at internet speed tests submitted by 173 survey participants showed a vast majority, 145, are underserved —meaning they have download speeds that are greater than 25 megabits per second and upload speeds topping 3 megabits per second, but less than 100Mbps/20Mbps. Another five participants were counted as unserved, with speeds less than 25/3.
Only 23 were counted as having adequate service, greater than 100Mbps/20Mbps, which Ball said is likely because they are in an area where fiber is available and have chosen to pay for the service.
The survey will help inform the city if there is enough demand in Novi to pursue fiber offerings from providers. The deadline to fill out the survey is Sept. 16. To complete the survey now, visit: https://novi.servicezones.net/Novi