Ruston considers providing connectivity; City leaders seek local feedback

Community

RUSTON, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– The City of Ruston is looking into building their own fiber-optic internet service. Right now, they are asking for feedback from locals to see if this is an idea worth pursuing.

The city already provides their own water, electricity, sewer, and fiber. Now, they could be adding internet to that list. Local business owners said this would be a beneficial change for the entire area.

Adam Williams owns a barbershop in Ruston. He said while cutting hair, his customers pass the time on their phones.

“A lot of my clients need WIFI,” Williams said. “They need internet to do a lot of things. I have Sprint so, WIFI is definitely a necessity in my line of business.”

It’s not only business owners who are behind the possible change, students are, too.

Zoe Meeks attends Louisiana Tech University. She said there have been times when she’s been on deadline and her internet cuts in and out or shuts off completely.

“Where I live, my WIFI goes out a lot,” Meeks said. “If you’re working on an assignment, you have to explain to your professor what happened, and they don’t always understand.”

Many locals say they have been experiencing issues with their internet connection.

“My internet at my house goes out pretty often,” Jaylie Waalk, a LA Tech student, said. “I don’t really know why and a lot of people that I know, their internet is very slow. “We all have the same provider so maybe that’s why, so maybe if there are more options that would be better.”

Mayor Ronny Walker said it’s concerns like these that’s resulted in the city looking to provide its own internet service. Many locals agreed, saying in would be a great solution to their connectivity concerns.

“It would be useful, especially for students in town,” Rosie Bennett, a LA Tech student, said. “If there was another source of internet, because I know that not everybody has the same resources and sometimes it’s hard to finish projects for teachers or professors or get things in on time and I think it would make everyone’s lives easier.”

The city has hired a consulting firm to conduct a survey to see if people are interested in a new internet provider. Mayor Walker said this would also be another way to make Ruston more progressive.

“We are just taking a really hard look at what’s out there, what we can do as a city, and we’ll go from there and see what happens,” Mayor Walker said.

Mayor Walker said the city is waiting on the survey results to decide whether they are going to move forward with the project. In the meantime, those who live in Ruston can contact city hall to give their input.

He also said this is not something that would happen immediately. The project could take a year or two.

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