The city of Shelby is exploring the possibility of broadband in the community. 

As the city of Shelby pursues the possibility of broadband service, officials emphasize it is about much more than state-of-the-art internet service.

It’s about economic development.

“We are seeing new businesses and growing businesses that are looking for a community to call home stating on their utility requirement list that high-speed internet service provided by fiber is mandatory for the community to be considered,” said Shelby Utilities Director John Ensman, who provided an update on a June broadband strategic planning workshop.

He made his comments in remarks and in a written document shared at Shelby City Council’s Utilities and Streets Committee at a recent July 14 meeting.

“A community will be removed from the search list if the desired utilities aren’t offered,” Ensman said. “Internet via fiber is a growing requirement for economic growth.”

“Studies have shown communities that have internet services provided by fiber to the home/businesses have an increase in property values,” Ensman said, citing a boost by 3 percent and possibly as high as 8 percent.

In remarks at the meeting, committee Chairman and Councilman Nathan Martin spoke of the overall importance of broadband in attracting businesses searching for a community.

“When it comes to internet being fiber, it is a non-negotiable,” Martin said. “You could have perfect square footage, utility price-points, everything could be perfect on 99 out of 100 things on the list. You don’t have fiber internet, you are removed from the search.”

To get input from Shelby locals, city officials are encouraging locals to participate in an online survey as part of a Shelby broadband feasibility study.

The survey, open through July 31, is available on the city’s website — — where it is displayed on the homepage under “Announcements and News” and under the headline "Internet Survey."

Survey results could come as soon as August.

The survey effort was highlighted during the Utilities and Streets Committee meeting.

“Vantage Point Solutions is conducting the broadband study to determine if it will be feasible for the city to become a municipal internet service provider for the community by using fiber optics to supply the service,” Ensman said.

Vantage Point Solutions is currently collecting data from the online survey “to help determine the wants and needs for internet service for our community,” Ensman said.

Check the Shelby Daily Globe for a closer look at this issue, including how community broadband service could be structured in Shelby.

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