The City of Mansfield, located in Northwest Louisiana, voted on Monday May 23, 2022 to enter into a public private partnership (P3 Agreement) to build a municipal owned fiber based broadband network. The city council voted unanimously to partner with Louisiana Connected (www.louisiana-connected.com) to build the $5 million system, which will give every household and business in the city access to fiber which is highest level of broadband available.
Mansfield is the first municipality in the state of Louisiana to build its own broadband network via a public private partnership.
“The pandemic really brought to light many of the shortcomings we face in our daily lives and reliable Internet was one of them,” said current Mayor John Mayweather, Sr. “Government offices, residents and especially students found it difficult to access dependable Internet service. A good many students had a hard time logging onto their home computers to keep up with their assignments. Hopefully, what we are attempting to do now with this broadband project will help to resolve this issue.”
The P3 agreement comes on the heels of a five-month state-required feasibility study conducted in partnership with Lit Communities so the city could receive complete cost estimates for the system’s buildout as well as identify the neighborhoods with broadband deficit.
“The feasibility study provided a model for an innovative ‘digital infrastructure’ platform for the city,” said Donnette Dunbar, CEO, Louisiana Connected. “Low-cost, high-speed Internet is the utility of the 21st century. Just as water appears when you turn on your faucet, it should be just as effortless to traverse the digital information highway when one opens a computer or clicks on a mobile device.”
Mansfield began looking into building its own system during the Covid-19 pandemic when its school district struggled with remote learning and connectivity issues.
“It became apparent to us that we have to take matters into our own hands if we want to bridge the digital divide in our community,” said Thomas Jones, Mansfield Mayor-Elect.
“Every citizen deserves equal opportunity to build for their economic future and one does not have a future without access to efficient broadband.”
The goal of the public/private partnership is to break ground by early Fall. “Mansfield is taking unprecedented action to make sure the digital divide will soon be a thing of the past,” said Brian Snider, CEO, Lit Communities.
“Mansfield is setting an example for Louisiana and the nation on how a strategic plan and partnership can make this happen anywhere. With the city’s investment in both connectivity and new infrastructure, the partnerships in the future will allow not only better Internet but a better economic future.”
About Louisiana Connected:
Louisiana Connected is a technology company that was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the systemic broadband blight in rural and urban Louisiana.
About Lit Communities:
Lit is an advisory firm that starts by offering in-depth community assessments that end in an actionable plan for connecting your community. From there, Lit can provide support with RFPs and referrals, or offer a complete turnkey network solution. Lit can even launch a local Internet Service Provider brand to keep network control and jobs in your community.
To learn more, please visit: https://www.louisiana-connected.com/