JAMESTOWN – Jamestown’s Mayor is continuing to work on a plan that could provide free or low-cost internet to those living within city limits.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist spoke with reporters following U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s visit to the National Comedy Center on Monday where he touted the almost $30 million of federal funds that is coming to the city.
Sundquist says he would like to see the area attract more technology companies, bringing jobs and growing the tax base.
Part of that plan is developing a municipal broadband network, an idea that dates back to Sundquist’s mayoral campaign. The mayor says he is looking at using the federal aid to further the idea.
“We are working through the process now in terms of feasibility studies and what the total cost would look like,” said Sundquist. “The City of Jamestown is unique in the fact that we own our own utility company, so we own all the polls, all the infrastructure that already exists that many entities have to build out from the start.”
Throughout the pandemic, with many people working from, the Mayor says families and school children have struggled to find an affordable and reliable internet connection, something a municipal system would look to achieve.
“Just from talking to families and school kids alone the ability to have free or low-cost internet is incredible, it is such a huge need,” explained Sundquist. “We’ve had so many families that had to go without because a lot of these companies refused to connect them up because of past due balances and bills.”
As he continues to hash out the proposal, Sundquist says will be taking feedback from the community.
Sundquist says, as far as he knows, no other cities have developed their own broadband network.