While large Internet service providers routinely face some of the lowest customer satisfaction rates in the country, municipal broadband networks, like FairlawnGig in Fairlawn, Ohio, have set themselves apart by offering superior customer service to residents and businesses.
Case in point: recent subscriber surveys from FairlawnGig revealed that 94% of residential respondents were satisfied with their service from the community-owned network. Businesses in Fairlawn also appreciate the municipal fiber provider. A similar survey given to businesses showed that about 700 jobs — at least — can be directly ascribed to the FairlawnGig network.
“Our customer service revolves around our building a strong and diverse network to our residents and businesses,” Fairlawn Deputy Director of Public Service Ernie Staten said in a press release. “We have the extremely high customer satisfaction scores to prove it.”
Numbers Don’t Lie
FairlawnGig conducted its survey of residential subscribers at the end of April and found an astonishingly high rate of satisfaction among those surveyed. Overall, 94% of respondents said they were satisfied with the service and 77% reported that they were “very satisfied,” which is impressive even with an accuracy range of plus or minus four percentage points. Another three quarters of survey takers said that FairlawnGig’s customer service is “excellent.”
In addition, about half of respondents said that FairlawnGig was “extremely important” in their choice to live or stay in the community. And the survey found that activities like working from home and streaming movies and other entertainment increased after residents started subscribing to FairlawnGig’s Internet access.
A survey given to businesses in March revealed similar satisfaction with FairlawnGig. About half of the businesses that answered the survey said that the municipal network was “extremely important” or “very important” in deciding to move or stay in the city. The vast majority of respondents said that the high speeds and low costs of FairlawnGig are important to their businesses.
Survey respondents also reported that they were able to build their businesses thanks to Fairlawn’s community broadband. Almost half said that having access to the FairlawnGig network helped them grow or expand into new markets. Nearly a quarter of businesses said that all or most of their employees in Fairlawn were there because of the municipal broadband network, with respondents reporting that 695 jobs were directly the result of the network.
Expanding Network, Flourishing Community
Fairlawn connected the first businesses to its municipal fiber network, FairlawnGig, in 2016. By early the next year, Fairlawn was deploying the network to city residents as well. After completing construction in Fairlawn, the city started expanding to neighboring communities, including nearby Akron, through a partnership with the open access Medina County Fiber Network.
The city’s efforts to connect their residents and businesses to high-speed connectivity have paid off. Last year, PCMag ranked FairlawnGig as one of the fastest Internet service providers in the country, easily beating out major companies like Comcast and AT&T Fiber. In a video on FairlawnGig produced by Corning, city officials, residents, and business leaders spoke to benefits that the municipal network has brought to their lives and business operations, including an 8.7% increase in local home values.
To hear more about FairlawnGig and the impact it has had on the Fairlawn community, listen to episode 292 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast or watch the video created by Corning below.