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Consultants working with the City of Mansfield – the seat of DeSoto Parish – are nearing completion of a comprehensive community assessment as the small northwest Louisiana community of about 4,500 is setting the table to build a municipal fiber network.
In October 2021, Mansfield’s five-member city council voted unanimously to hire Louisiana Connected to lead the study in partnership with Lit Communities. After the council vote, Mansfield Mayor John H. Mayweather, Sr. described the decision as the first step in establishing a public-private partnership to bring reliable and affordable high-speed Internet access to every household and business in the city.
In a press statement released after the October vote, Mayor Mayweather said:
Representatives of Louisiana Connected were allowed to make a presentation to the City Council at one of our meetings earlier this year regarding a consideration to build our own broadband system. After hearing the advantages of bringing such a network to Mansfield, we were on board then. And now after listening further, we are even more excited about this opportunity. This will be good for all the citizens of Mansfield.
Pandemic Push to Action
As with many communities around the county now considering building their own municipal broadband network, a major motivator for Mansfield was the number of students in this majority African-American city who struggled to participate in distance learning triggered by the pandemic.
In a press release after the vote to move forward with the community assessment, Mansfield parent LaKimberly Edwards spoke to the need for universal access to high-speed Internet connectivity.