SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The City of South Lake Tahoe has launched a Broadband Feasibility Study to determine how the city can improve broadband and Internet service and infrastructure. NEO Connect, a broadband consultancy, was retained to conduct the analysis and present recommendations. City Council recognizes the importance of high-speed broadband to the community to improve opportunities for employment, education and economic development. The study relates directly to City Council’s Strategic Priority 1.1 initiative “Broadband for All”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for reliable, affordable, and robust home internet service to support telecommuting, online education and telehealth applications, and more. In response to these realities, state and federal programs have released more than $400 billion to improve broadband infrastructure. In addition to funding, the State of California has responded by setting a goal for all businesses and homes to have access to at least one broadband provider with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and download speeds of at least 20 megabits per second. (100/20 Mbps) no later than 2026.
The feasibility study, which aligns with California State objectives, aims to identify potential avenues for leveraging available funding. In particular, the study will identify existing fiber optic cables, conduits and other telecommunications infrastructure and assets. Once these are mapped, NEO Connect will identify gaps in service coverage and develop a plan to close those gaps. Planning activities include working with local and regional stakeholders and service providers, establishing plans and estimating capital costs, and identifying potential partners to facilitate infrastructure improvements in a large band. This effort will help existing service providers by facilitating an open discussion on how to jointly address communication gaps in coverage, as well as improving existing infrastructure to enable faster broadband speeds. The City will also examine how to mobilize funds to build its own fiber network in order to improve services to citizens.
Internet surveys are now online for area residents and businesses to provide feedback and information on the level of services currently available, how the Internet is currently used and what is most important to members of the community regarding high-speed Internet services. The household and business surveys are available in English and Spanish at www.cityofslt.us/broadbandsurvey until August 1.
NEO Connect recently completed a study for El Dorado County and the Central Sierra five-county region of California. “NEO is excited to work with the City of South Lake Tahoe on this project,” said company CEO Diane Kruse. “We are big proponents of community and regional collaboration to improve broadband services and look forward to working with key stakeholders in this region to come up with a plan.”