Highland News Leader

HCS launches broadband user survey to gain insight for the future

Learn why Highland Communications Services was nationally ranked in a recent Harvard study

A Harvard University study published this month ranked Highland Communications Services 5th in the nation on providing the most savings in basic broadband services as compared to its private competitors. HCS Director of Technology and Innovation A
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A Harvard University study published this month ranked Highland Communications Services 5th in the nation on providing the most savings in basic broadband services as compared to its private competitors. HCS Director of Technology and Innovation A

Highland Communications Services, the city-owned phone, cable television and Internet company, is looking to revamp its functionality and wants to know what its customers think and Highland residents think.

"This is really the first time we have taken a deep dive into what we provide," said Angela Imming, director of technology and innovation for the city of Highland and directs the eight-year-old enterprise.

Starting on March 28, a survey called the the Technology Checkup will be available on the HCS's website. The survey will be available through the month of April and is open to all Highland residents, not just HCS customers. Imming said the survey is anonymous and should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Once the survey is closed, the results will be gathered and analyzed. Imming estimated results will be made available to the public sometime around the first week of May. They will be published on the HCS website. Imming she she wants everyone to review the results of the survey, as it could help citizens to get a look into where HCS could be moving in the future.

The survey is an extension of a pilot program launched last October called the "Broadband Impact Symposium" that was designed to help the city keep up to date with the ever-changing fiber market, shifting demographics and improving technology — information HCS needs as it plans its vision for the future, Imming said.

During the program, the city asked about 20 Highland businesses and leaders to take a beta version of a survey designed to evaluate their needs. Imming said 17 out of the 20 parties took the survey.

"The information we got back was just very telling," Imming said.

Businesses valued reliability over all other aspects. Second was customer support.

Harvard University recently pushed a study saying HCS had one of the best prices structures in the county. However, Imming said the survey of local business leaders showed that price was not important if these two things were present. Imming also said the survey showed users were aware that their fiber network provided more opportunities with technology, but they needed advice on how to use it.

From the pilot survey, Imming is forming a finalized survey that will be given to all Highland businesses later this year. But while she was working on it, she realized something was missing.

"I stopped and said I wanted to give this to the residents as well," she said.

Overall, Imming said the survey should help the city to gain insight into product selection, as it is a chance to ask users what they need that is not provided by HCS. Imming also said the survey will gauge the customer's usage of specific platforms, and help the city to see what services they can do without.

"It really is about them molding and defining a city service to make sure we are not wasting our resources," Imming said.

Among other benefits, Imming said the survey will also evaluate how users use their broadband service to conduct business, as well as evaluate the impact of what would happen if users lost connectivity and highlight HCS's future needs for team development.

For more information contact HCS at 618-654-1519, by email at hcs@highlandil.gov or visit the HCS website.

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