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Mason County residents struggle to find reliable internet connection

Of respondents that currently have no internet service: Only 4% don't want internet, only 2.3% are temporary residents and for 3.4% of respondents, their cell phone is fine for services. What does that mean? Over 90% of Mason County residents who responded to this survey want internet, but can't get it.
Connecting Mason County

More than half of Mason County residents are unsatisfied with their internet connection. That’s according to a new study by Connecting Mason County.

Around 87 percent of households in the county have access to the internet, says spokesperson Monica Schuyler.

“To counter that, I was very shocked that of those with access, how many were really struggling with slow or unreliable speeds,” she says.” It was really clear from some of the comments that people were band-aiding between satellites and hotspots and cell phones and trying to do whatever it took to make it work.”

48.1% respondents were unhappy with the cost of their internet service. 51.9% respondents were unhappy with the speed of their internet service. 14.5% respondents were unhappy with customer service from their internet provider. *Respondents were able to choose one of more options for their dissatisfaction, accounting for the higher than 100% in total dissatisfaction.
Connecting Mason County

The non-profit says geography plays a large part in the lack of internet access.

In developing solutions, Connecting Mason County reviewed local regulations that may hamper efforts to get the county internet.

The group also looked into federal funding and grants to help with the cost of getting internet access. Aspen Wireless estimates it will cost approximately $63 million to get the entire county internet. The group estimates the plan could be cash positive in 4-8 years and pay off the infrastructure investment within 20 years.

The group is developing ways to partner with private companies to make the internet more accessible for Mason County residents.

One of the solutions could be having the county own the internet infrastructure but opening it up to providers.

“Think about roads,” says Schuyler. “Instead of having FedEx and Amazon and USPS build their own highway system, they all share one. Well, could we take that same approach with Internet and fiber cable?”

Next, Connecting Mason County plans to take that information to commissioners in the hopes of adopting a solution.