WAXAHACHIE

Waxahachie is speeding up its internet services, according to a recently released report detailing internet providers in the area.

BroadbandNow, an internet advocacy organization that helps consumers find and compare internet service plans, recently released its findings on broadband coverage across Waxahachie in 2018. A representative stated that the company went through "one billion rows of public and private data" before they reported the results.

Twenty-three internet service providers and eight data centers identified within 50 miles of Waxahachie currently provide a coverage area of 99.7 percent for both Waxahachie and Ellis County. That makes Waxahachie the 804th most connected out of 26,868 cities in the United States.

DIAL-UP DAYS

Teral Crawford has been the information technology director for Ellis County for 18 years. He manages the county’s web statistics, installs and monitors the county’s IT equipment and analyzes local interconnected networks to track the data shared between county facilities and technologies.

He said the county had come a long way since its dial-up days, adding that the expanded wireless internet provider options have helped increase the city’s area of coverage.

“We have roughly 10 remote locations that are prohibited to go with fiber or hardwire connections,” Crawford explained. “Some of them can’t be reached any other way than wireless.”

While more wireless options are available to residents in the area, Crawford stated that the county has a proprietary custom-built network, meaning that it is a standalone broadband network that is focused towards county operations exclusively.

Because of this, the county has a faster download speed than the City of Waxahachie does. A screenshot provided by Crawford shows the county’s download speed to be 299.3 Mbps at one point during a speed test.

“It’s not divided broadband across several subscribers,” he stated. “It’s exclusive to the county and completely dedicated to us.”

But Crawford noted that several provider options in the area have exceptionally helped Waxahachie’s download speeds. Out of 31,837 IP verified speed tests conducted in the city throughout the year, the average download speed for Waxahachie is 58.26 megabytes per second.

According to the report, that makes its download speed 13.1 percent faster than the state average of 51.51 Mbps and 28.5 percent faster than the state average of 45.34 Mbps. At one point from June to July 2018, Waxahachie is shown to have reached download speeds upwards of 180 Mbps.

FAST COMPETITION

The two leading Waxahachie internet providers listed in the report are AT&T Internet and Charter Spectrum. Although AT&T has a greater DSL coverage at 77.2 percent compared to Charter’s cable coverage at 67.8 percent, Charter reportedly has faster download speeds, with its average reported at 181.83 Mbps compared to AT&T’s 58.12 Mbps.

Crawford stated that it’s usual for cable speeds to be faster than DSL speeds.

Paris Market owner Becky Eason said she had the benefit of being on plans from both AT&T and Charter. When she used to work as a loss control and safety inspector for insurance companies, she worked from home often in filing her reports through the internet.

She said AT&T helped her to do her job quickly and efficiently.

“I needed fast, reliable internet to do that,” Eason remarked.

But when she bought the Paris Market last year, Eason stated she shifted to Charter for the store because they had a discount at the time. Although their business revolves around person-to-person interaction and sales of goods, she said her cable internet service is vital to the market’s success – especially since their card reader is hooked up to it.

“I do all the banking, the card reader, Facebook for advertising, Instagram,” she explained.

Art on the Square volunteer Milan Kuret also remarked at how vital their AT&T service is to the business.

“If we want to bring paintings in, we register online,” Kuret remarked. “Classes, you sign up for online. To join, you do it online. We volunteer, and we sign up online. It’s pretty much web-based as far as the workings of the organization.”

INTERNET IMPACT

Although Waxahachie has a strong coverage area thanks to its several providers, there are still a few spots in Waxahachie with one or fewer providers in the area. According to the report, 35.24 percent of the population has access to one or less wired broadband providers, leaving them without a competitive marketplace.

Kuret remarked he lives on the outskirts of Waxahachie, and the only provider out there is HughesNet. Kuret stated that his download speed was approximately 72 Mbps.

‘It’s the only one out there,” he expressed. “It kind of stalls out every once and a while. I’m waiting for something better to come along.”

But for the fast-growing 37,000-plus Waxahachie population, those irregularities are not likely to last. Crawford remarked that Waxahachie’s internet connectivity is expected to improve as technology capabilities continue to expand.

Kuret was surprised when he was informed of Waxahachie’s standing with the nation. He expressed his excitement at the possibilities for Waxahachie’s growth in the coming years.

“Everybody has to be connected,” Kuret stated. “I never realized we were that far up the list.”

Eason remarked how impressive Waxahachie had expanded technologically, adding that the digital age is changing the way people interact and do business.

“We do most things by the internet anyway,” she remarked. “Everyone’s plugged in. If we’re not, we’re out of step.”

To learn more about BroadbandNow and its 2018 findings, go online at www.broadbandnow.com.