As working and learning from home becomes standard during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Dublin city officials are assessing how effective is residents' internet service.

An online survey was posted April 13 on the city's website -- dublinohiousa.gov/living/current-internet-connection-assessment -- and likely will stay up for several weeks, said Doug McCollough, Dublin's chief information officer.

McCollough said the city wanted to use this time to assess internet coverage in the city because people are at home during the pandemic and likely experiencing service issues.

"This is literally the worst-case scenario for internet access," he said.

Building internet capability to a high-use scenario makes sense, McCollough said, and the city saw this as a good moment to see how effective is access to broadband internet service.

City staff members are interested in how effective is residents' internet access in the context of the pandemic so Dublin can also use the data in future conversations with internet service providers and telecommunications carriers, McCollough said.

Another goal is to see what areas of the city residents self-report they are suffering in terms of internet access.

Whereas the city's fiber optic cable network, DubLink, isn't available for home use, the city is likely going to need to invest in city-owned fiber optics to change economics for service providers, McCollough said.

If building new fiber-optic cable networks for residences was feasible, internet service providers would already have done so, McCollough said.

DubLink could serve as an internet "backbone" the city could extend to make it more cost effective for internet service providers to then extend that network "the last mile" to residences, McCollough said.

Amid the pandemic, internet access has become especially important for students who are learning online from their residences.

Online learning has been utilized since March 16 in the Dublin City Schools and student internet access is imperative, said Doug Baker, the school district's public information officer.

"The istrict has provided nearly 100 hotspots to students without internet access at home and we are working toward boosting Wi-Fi signals outward at several school sites so that the internet may be accessed from the parking lots of these facilities," Baker said.

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