Half the respondents in a recent sample survey on internet use in Montezuma County said they support a proposed sales tax to fund a high-speed broadband project.
The survey, organized by the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association, was conducted by Discover Research Group over a week in mid-June.
The randomized phone survey contacted 300 people for their input on nine questions regarding local internet needs and service. Of the responses, 210 were from land lines, and 90 were from cell phones.
A key question was whether survey participants would support a 1 percent sales tax to fund “high-speed affordable internet” to their home or business. Of the responses, 154 said they supported the tax, and 146 said they did not.
“To have about 50 percent positive response for the sales tax is encouraging,” said Chelsea Jones, MCEDA economic development specialist. “It’s an indication there is some support even before our education campaign, but we still have a lot of work to do informing the public of the plan.”
The county agreed this month to ask voters in the November election for a 1 percent sales tax to help pay for a $39 million high-speed internet project that could serve every home, businesses and school in the county, including local towns and the Ute Mountain Ute reservation.
The survey indicated residents favor improved internet service.
On a survey question asking if they are “satisfied with the speed of internet service” 146 responded they were not satisfied, and 118 said they were. Also, according to the survey, 218 said they would be interested in faster service if it were available, and 82 said they would not be interested.
On a question regarding whether their “internet service provides a good value” 140 said no, and 126 said yes.
Of the 266 people who responded to questions about how they use the internet, 247 said they used it for research.
Other top internet uses reported by the survey were for news and information (242), purchasing (239), email, video and photos (237), education (188), social media (185), entertainment (142), and work from home (121).
But there is a internet gap for local students, said Rick Smith, Cortez general services manager, during a recent Club 20 meeting on local telecommunications.
“Schools have the high-speed internet, but where service is lacking is when kids go home and can’t get the connectivity they need to do homework,” he said.
Other survey highlights: On having a choice of service providers, 140 said it was important, and 48 said it was not. Results also showed that 22 percent of respondents operate a home-based business. Also, 113 responded they had four to six devices connected to the internet in their home or business.