Broadband Internet service has become a necessity in today’s world, Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association governmental affairs committee member Greg Jones said at GAC’s March meeting.
To reach that need, Jones suggests making broadband service available at all POA facilities.
Investments by Internet providers in recent years makes the cost to the POA much lower than it would have been years ago.
Jones has been speaking to representatives of two current Internet service providers to HSV, AT&T and Suddenlink.
AT&T sees the future as high-speed wireless, much faster than either the fourth-generation, or 4G, service, and long-term evolution, or LTE service, that many cellular radiotelephones currently use, Jones said.
However, he says, AT&T seems more interested in expanding in high-density urban areas that offer a higher return on the company’s investment.
But Suddenlink officials seem very interested in expanding service to HSV, Jones says.
He has also been speaking to officials of other companies that might be interested in providing broadband Internet to the Village.
Jones has suggested one way to help pay for high-speed internet in POA buildings would be to provide it as a free amenity to POA members, and at a small charge to non-members.
He has also suggested a pilot project, possibly to serve homes in the Cortez area, or another area needing coverage. Because of fiber-optic lines already placed by AT&T and Suddenlink, the cost would be relatively low.
Chief executive officer Lesley Nalley told the GAC that broadband service is essential. “To demonstrate to investors that we are investing in ourselves is imperative,” she said.
Investors take note when a community takes charge of its destiny, as HSV is doing through its upcoming Comprehensive Master Plan, Nalley said. “It is going to be a living document,” she said.
Consultants have developed tools to evaluate the cost of developing amenities versus the value to the community.
In other business, Keith Keck updated the GAC on the latest work by Metroplan. Keck represents the Village on central Arkansas’ federally designated planning organization.
One project under development is a vanpool to operate between Conway and Little Rock.
Federal funds will pay for most of the expense, Keck said.
Vans are expected to help reduce highway congestion and reduce fuel use and air pollution.
GAC members expressed hope that a similar project might be considered between the Village and Little Rock.
Also, “Think Big Little Rock,” a group of young professionals that is part of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, is looking at ways to repurpose the existing War Memorial Golf Course, Keck said.
Fountain Lake and Jessieville school districts’ superintendents, Michael Murphy and Ralph Carter, gave updates on their schools.