2008 Survey Results

by

Mendocino Coast Broadband Alliance

Results of Survey on Broadband Interest

Executive Summary, April 30, 2008

Survey Logistics

A survey titled “Request for Information on Broadband Interest” was conducted from 3/1/08 to 4/25/08, administered through both paper and online survey instruments. A total of 800 paper surveys were distributed door-to-door and to central pickup points along the Mendocino coast from Albion to Westport. Directions to the SurveyMonkey site: http://tinyurl.com/2xhdd2 were published in local newspapers, emailed to local mailing lists, posted on bulletin boards and included with the printed survey. A total of 185 responses were collected (44 paper, 141 online). The largest cluster (42%) of respondents was in the town of Albion. The survey was designed to assess current and future broadband access needs for homes and home based businesses.

Key findings

Regardless of current access, respondents want more reliable, higher speed access at an affordable cost. High speed could lessen the physical isolation and economic limitations of coastal living. Many pointed to the inequity of urban vs. rural access and called for mandated broadband availability.

In this largely rural population, the average respondent lives 1065 feet from the county road.

  • 90.5 % agreed “High speed Internet should be available to every home.”
  • 85.8% agreed “My property is more valuable or marketable with high speed Internet.”
  • 93.5% agreed “High speed Internet will make Mendocino County stronger economically.”

Most favored uses included

  • 97% Reference and research
  • 88% Communications
  • 81%Comparing and shopping
  • 80%Mapping & Google Earth
  • 76% Travel planning
  • 75% Media: Images
  • 73% Business & Banking
  • 72% Computer Support
  • 70%Education

55% respondents reported a current home based business. 83% of those estimated growth in income given broadband access. The 11 individuals who reported current home based business annual income are charted to the left. 59% of those without a home based business would be interested in starting one given broadband access. Over 76 different types of home based businesses were reported, ranging from accounting to yoga therapy and including art, construction, design, engineering, finance, medical, music production, private investigation, real estate, sales, teaching, and web production.

Sample Quotes

“I am disabled and having to drive all the way to the Ft. Bragg library to get a decent, fast connection is almost impossible. I am isolated and out of touch. I live right on State Hwy. 1 and I might as well be in Timbuktu — there is NO cable, NO DSL, NO nothing here.”

“I drive 3 days a week almost 70 miles round trip to access a wifi location to do my online work.”

“We are just handicapped when it comes to anything on the internet…Updates for drivers or programs; sometimes a new version of a program can a day or longer to download.”

“We currently have three computers sharing one dialup connection. The lack of a workable high speed connection has impacted us severely.” — “I am very tired of being unable to download new programs and/or upgrades”

“It’s no longer feasible for many people to spend at least $10.00 for gasoline to a larger city where high speed hot spots might be available or where long lines waiting to use computers in some libraries eliminate their usefulness. Amazing how one can travel to a rural part of a third world country and get better Internet speeds there than parts of Mendocino not serviced by cable or DSL!”

“Dial up causes unnecessary stress in my life.” — “with only dial-up, we feel left out and left behind”

“High speed internet access is absolutely critical to the survival and growth of rural communities like the Coast as well as the rest of the county.”

“I have broadband now but the speeds are nothing like what they are in the city. The coast deserves to have service as good as the city,” — “time for us rural types to have 21st century tools like the urbans”

“I feel like I am in the stoneage. It is impossible to do taxes on line for example. I can’t share photos with my family in Germany”

“I am a high school teacher and would like to be able to do research at home. Unfortunately, it takes way too long with dial-up. We were one of the last areas to get private phone lines. We had party lines in the 1970s. Let’s not repeat this travesty. We need high speed internet.”

“high speed internet would enable telecommuting and online educational opportunities for our high school children”

“I sell on ebay and I have found that, on my s-l-o-w dial-up connection I often must wait until the wee hours of the night/early EARLY morning to effectively post items with photos”

“…considered moving to a more remote coastal location… High speed internet ranks up there with water, septic, land for gardening, and good air as essential homesite requirements” — “ Having high speed internet means that we could move to Mendocino (sooner) and not have to rent an office space in town.”

“My wife is a lawyer who telecommutes now and when we move to Mendocino a broad band connection will allow her to retain her profession”

“We are a husband and wife company working out of our home studio for the last 25 years here in Mendocino. We want to launch a website but worry about maintaining it with a dial up connection”

“one airline uses people in Utah for their flight reservations. Retirees, handicaped, stay at home moms, etc. are hooked up by HIGH SPEED INTERNET to the company. The company saves millions of dollars a year by having this highly reliable source of labor right here in the US without going to India for their employees. The Mendocino Coast with its highly educated population would be a great source for a company to use for this type of operation if it were not so removed FROM the mainstream by the lack of HIGH SPEED INTERNET.”

“The era of separate and unequal should be no longer tolerated. Our children, our businesses, and our personal freedom to participate in the global communication network is being limited by our lack of access to high speed internet.”

Conclusion

“Need it bad. Need it now.” –“Please get this for all of us as soon as possible for a reasonable monthly fee.” — “Hurry up !!”

“Were something better available, I would switch in a heartbeat. “ “I very much look forward to broadband services and would sign on immediately if it were available and remain a valued customer.”

“Just like the rural electrification project this needs to be done for everyone” — “Affordable broadband should be available to every American!”

“Irrespective of its tangible utility, the internet is an essential part of our present day culture. A fast connection is essential for participating in it. It is comparable to having a telephone service.”

“PLEASE, GET AT&T TO BRING ALL OF US IN THIS RURAL COMMUNITY HIGH-SPEED INTERNET. THANKS!!” — “The coast as a region from point Arena to Westport needs to for a non-profit corporation to “mandate” access thru the state to “POWER-LINE INTERNET ACCESS” –“ ATT and other phone corporations must be made to provide broadband to ALL areas, whether it be a wired or wireless connection”

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