Lucas Requests Participation in Solution to Internet Problems

Lucas Requests Participation in Solution to Internet Problems

Last year, the City of Lucas conducted an informal survey regarding internet service within city limits. The results of that survey showed that there is a widespread internet problem.  In January of this year, the Lucas Technology Committee held its first meeting. Their goal is to find solutions to improve internet service throughout Lucas. Paul Rathgeb, Lucas resident, is one of the four members of the volunteer committee. Rathgeb explained the areas of expertise committee members contribute to the effort, “Committee members bring a variety of technology, business, and leadership skills, and many of us have experience in the telecommunications industry. Most importantly, we are motivated to improve the internet service quality for all Lucas citizens.”

At the Jun. 6 Lucas City Council meeting, Rathgeb presented a slideshow explaining the approach the committee is pursuing which includes asking residents to participate in the speed test which can be found by going to speedtest.lucastexas.us. This link collects information from Lucas residents with the intent of mapping real internet speeds throughout the city. Rathgeb said, “Our goal is to use this information to develop solutions that will improve service coverage and quality.”

Additional information contained in the slideshow included an action overview: Identify the problem. Universe of solutions. Know the gap. Close the gap. Propose recommended solutions. It is estimated that data gathering will take up to three months. Regarding “Knowing the gap”, specifics were: Knowing the problem, the opportunity, and the universe of solutions: Prepare a cost to deploy and ongoing operational estimate for each viable solution. Meet with prospective ISPs to understand their IRR requirements and time-to-market estimates. Identify cost gaps for each solution.

One or more viable solutions will be presented to Lucas City Council for consideration and next steps.

When Lucas residents go to  https://speedtest.lucastexas.us/, they will select their address, then run the internet speed test from their home computer and internet connection. This information will help the committee understand the scope of the problem and move down the path toward a solution.  

It is estimated that close to 100% of homes in Lucas have internet. Rathgeb said, “Lucas is predominately a residential, hobby farm community. We don't have many businesses. Our efforts have been focused on residential improvement, and I have no information on the internet service at our few businesses.”

Rathgeb explained why he chose to volunteer on this committee, “My family experiences challenges with schoolwork, research and entertainment options due to poor quality internet service. Having spoken with others in my community, I learned our problem is not unique. I decided to offer my time and energy to help solve the problem.”

In addition to internet speed concerns, there are additional concerns which Rathgeb explained, “Speed is certainly the big factor, but availability and latency are also big issues to many people. This is especially true for those who use wireless internet services through companies like Hughesnet and Rise.” He detailed the internet situation at his house, “…We have two choices of internet: Satellite or Mobile Hotspot. Our speeds vary on each, so we find ourselves switching from one to the other regularly.” When he ran the speedtest recently between storms, the downlink speed was 1 MBPS, while the uplink speed was 67 MBPS. He said, “This was a "good" day for internet at our house.”

Additional members of the Lucas Technology Committee are Dennis Scully, George Brody and Trey Sleeper. City Council is actively seeking one more member for the committee.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail the Technology Committee at technology@lucastexas.us.

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