The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce is currently looking to increase the number of internet service providers (ISPs) and overall bandwidth available in the city. Chamber President John Crutchfield gave the Killeen City Council a presentation at a workshop meeting Tuesday night detailing what that could mean for businesses and the community as a whole.
“High-speed data transmission may be the most significant innovation of the late 20th Century,” Crutchfield said. “The lack of bandwidth poses a competitive disadvantage for our community and region especially in its appeal to technology companies. Bandwidth is critical to knowledge-based economies.”
Crutchfield said that Killeen currently has an average download speed of 42.43 megabytes per second, which is 17.6 percent slower than the Texas average. He also said that within Bell County, approximately 17,000 residents do not have access to 25 megabytes per second speeds.
There are currently 16 ISPs functioning in Killeen, but only five of them offer residential service. According to Crutchfield, the chamber and the Killeen Independent School District have have been working together with United Private Networks to establish an 85-mile network of fiber optic cables to provide faster internet across the city and to encourage new ISPs to come to the area.
“The chamber has facilitated meetings with all school districts in the MSA (metropolitan statistical area) and has met with all hospitals in the MSA to discuss the need and opportunity to increase bandwidth,” Crutchfield said. “Networks are now being constructed in other communities in the MSA and a regional network is being planned.”
Crutchfield said city residents and businesses have already seen improvements in internet speeds this year. According to Broadband Now, a national broadband internet rating system, during the past year Killeen rose from 722nd to the 624th most connected city in Texas ahead of Fort Hood and Copperas Cove, but behind Belton, Nolanville and Harker Heights.