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Broadband internet provider eyeing Melissa for services

Joshua Baethge,
The Anna-Melissa Tribune

MELISSA - A potential internet provider has expressed interest in finding out whether Melissa is a market that could support the level of investment required to justify higher speed internet.

In response to this inquiry, the city sent a brief survey to some residents on behalf of a company.

The broadband provider, which has chosen to remain anonymous, requested the city’s help gathering information so that it could make a more informed business decision.

A link to the survey was emailed to residents of the Magnolia Ridge, Trails of Melissa, Hunter’s Creek, North Creek and Liberty subdivisions.

City Manager Jason Little admits that some residents have expressed frustration about certain areas of the city having better internet service than others.

However, city government cannot create its own internet infrastructure. Instead, it must rely on private telecom companies to invest there.

When a provider expresses interest in coming to Melissa, city staff typically works with it to see what information would help in the decision-making process. In this case, it agreed to facilitate the survey, but is not endorsing the provider.

“If their initial look at the market is favorable then maybe we could expand it to other areas, but you have to start somewhere,” Little said. “I’m sure that this is just the first step in a multi-layered due diligence process for them.”

Enticing telecom companies to come to Melissa is something Little and city staff has been working on actively. They have made overtures to multiple telecommunications companies. Their long term goal is to ensure that all city residents have access to broadband internet. However, it’s a process that may take some time.

Residents who received the survey at the end of August have until Sept. 11 to complete it. The survey is completely voluntary and designed to take no longer than five minutes. Those who submit a response will remain anonymous and their personal information will not be shared with any company.