We were glad to welcome three new attendees at our meeting yesterday. Together we tackled draft residential and business surveys on a Northampton Community Network for release by the City. The surveys we are using are based on surveys conducted by the City of Loveland, Colorado. Using groupthink, we completed this task with a little time to spare. Before sending them to the mayor for consideration, we want the coalition to take one more pass and to have our in-house survey expert parse through them to make sure they represent a quality and impartial survey. This process hopefully will take a week or two maximum.
Todd Hemm, Director of Sasles for Lightspeed Technologies attended our meeting. Todd represents Nokia, which is one of consulting companies that helps to create community networks. We asked him for his experiences and insights. One thing he told us was that Nokia will do feasibility studies for free for cities that ask, which would save the city a lot of money. The mayor wants both a user survey to make sure the idea is supported by the community and a high-level study of the likely cost of a community network. It’s unclear if he needs both to advance this to the Northampton City Council for consideration.
It’s unclear whether this new business survey would be used by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. We’d like Executive Director Suzanne Beck’s consent before forwarding it to the mayor.
One area of concern is whether posting the surveys on the city’s website would constitute an acceptable survey method. We decided this was ultimately up to Mayor Narkewicz. A mailed survey to a representative sample of Northampton would probably be a more scientific survey but it would cost more money.
We expect to meet again at Northampton Community TV at 7 PM on Thursday, July 5.