LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock Power & Light Electric Utility Board member Charles Dunn is conducting a feasibility study to see if LP&L should install high speed internet fiber optic cables in downtown Lubbock.
He believes it would increase redevelopment of the area and even attract college graduates. Since LP&L is already burying utility lines downtown, he said it would be the best time to install these cables.
Lubbock is about 35 percent slower than the rest of Texas when it comes to internet speed, Dunn said.
"When you're uploading at four megabytes a second versus a thousand megabytes a second," he said, "it's like driving to Dallas at four miles an hour or flying a thousand miles an hour."
While the redevelopment of downtown is a priority for the City of Lubbock, several council members doubt high speed internet is the answer.
"I don't personally believe that we need to be in the retail broadband business at all," said councilwoman Karen Gibson. "I don't think it's a good use of taxpayer funds at all. I know [the board] came back with a figure of $30,000. I find that hard to believe."
However, Dunn said taxpayers would not be affected because the funds would be drawn from the LP&L budget. With his law office downtown, he said he has to pay at least $200 dollars a month for high speed internet.
If LP&L installed these high speed fiber cables, he says it would only cost him $70 a month for faster internet: one gig versus ten megabytes. One gig is equal to 1,000 megabytes.
Bart Reagor, owner of Reagor Dykes Auto Group, has his online advertising office downtown and recently purchased two other vacant buildings to move his businesses downtown.
He said he is perfectly fine with the providers he has now in the area, and sees no need for a change.
"There's going to be cable underground, and whether it's LP&L cable or Suddlenlink cable or NTS cable, whatever cable provider it is, I don't really think that matters," he said. "I don't know of anybody in business that I know of that ever made a business decision based on the level of internet speed."
Dunn said he is not sure how long this study will take them, because they want to make sure they conduct it efficiently. He hopes the city council members will keep an open mind until they have their results.