Awarded Merit’s 2020 Community Building Award

The Michigan Broadband Cooperative has been chosen to receive Merit’s Community Building Award at the 2020 Virtual Merit Member Conference

This award recognizes organizations and individuals that build communities to help improve networking, technology and collaboration.

The Michigan Broadband Cooperative, in support of the Michigan Moonshot initiative, has contributed to the statewide Merit community in the areas of advocacy, thought leadership, consensus building and education. Michigan Broadband Cooperative  was nominated for the group’s ongoing and exemplary work to support broadband expansion in Washtenaw County and the group’s contributions to Merit’s statewide Michigan Moonshot ecosystem.

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Broadband Bond On Ballot In Sharon Township, Michigan

On May 8th, voters in Sharon Township, Michigan, will decide whether or not they want to pursue an initiative to invest in a publicly owned fiber optic network. People in the community of less than 2,000 people don’t expect the national ISPs to bring them the connectivity they need, so they will decide if they should take another approach to connect every one with high-quality Internet access. Click here to read more

Lyndon Twp Broadband Bond Voting Information

What is the Broadband Bond?

Lyndon Township is proposing to build a fiber optic network that would provide broadband access to all Lyndon Township residents.  

If the proposal passes, the project will be financed using a municipal bond that would cost about 2.9 mills over 20 years.   Total amount borrowed by the township not to exceed a principal amount of $7,000,000.

Why is this project being proposed?

High speed internet access is not available to most Lyndon Township residents. The township board has investigated solutions with existing providers  capable of providing FCC minimum broadband standards and found none willing to invest the money to build infrastructure in Lyndon Township.

In June of 2016, Lyndon Township residents received a survey with the summer tax bill aimed at gauging public interest in broadband. 83% of the registered voter respondents said that having high speed Internet was “important “or “very important”. Additionally, when asked to prioritize a list of fifteen issues respondents ranked broadband access as second in importance, behind only “protecting water quality.”

The township board funded a feasibility study in 2016 to understand how this issue might be addressed. The feasibility study recommended that the township build a fiber optic network.

What will be the cost to the taxpayer?

Based on current property valuation information available from the township, the new bond will cost the average homeowner $263/year ($21.92/month).  Cost of the millage to pay the bond is calculated at $2.91 per $1000 of taxable value (taxable value is about ½ the home’s market value). 

After building the fiber network the township will partner with one or more private service providers to deliver Internet access to residents.

Estimated monthly costs for basic Internet access will be about $35 for 100Mb of bandwidth. 1Gb bandwidth will be available for $60 a month. 

Total costs for a resident to get broadband service: millage bond costs + monthly costs for Internet access. For the average homeowner in Lyndon Township this will be around $57 a month.

Will the fiber reach my house?

If the bond proposal passes the fiber network would connect to each house in Lyndon Township on both private and public roads.

Lyndon Township Residents to Vote on Broadband Bond Proposal

LYNDON TOWNSHIP, Michigan – June 1, 2017 – On May 9, following strong support from residents, the Lyndon Township Board unanimously approved ballot language for a bond proposal to fund construction of a fiber optic broadband network serving every home in Lyndon Township. This initiative would bring 21st century internet access to all Lyndon Township residents. The proposal will appear on the August 8, 2017 election, and the bond will be backed by a 20-year millage. If approved, the average annual millage rate to retire the bonds is estimated at 2.9102 mills ($2.9102 per thousand of taxable value).

If Lyndon voters approve the bond proposal, Lyndon Township will proceed with construction of the fiber optic network infrastructure, bringing a fiber connection to every home in the township. Based on currently available taxable valuation data for Lyndon Township, the average cost per property owner for this construction will be about $21.92 per month. Once completed, the township will then partner with one or more private service providers to deliver Internet access to residents. Estimated monthly costs for basic Internet access will be about $35. This internet service will provide an estimated speed of 100Mb, with no caps on data usage, and access speeds will not be throttled back for heavy users. The average combined cost of the millage for infrastructure and monthly fee for service will be about $57 per month. It is anticipated that if funded, Lyndon’s internet service will be up and running by December, 2018.

Lyndon Township, like many townships in Western Washtenaw County, is significantly underserved in regard to broadband. This is because population densities are too low to support the return on investment required by corporate providers. This can come as a surprise to residents from nearby areas that are well served by broadband, and who take their speedy, reliable internet access for granted. “Our friends from Ann Arbor find it unbelievable that at our house it takes many hours – overnight, actually – to simply update our Windows operating system. Sometimes, longer than that, when we lose our internet connection along the way.” said Lyndon resident Jo Ann Munce. “People we know here in Lyndon have caps on the amount of data they’re able to use, so they’re not even able to perform a software update without paying for additional data. Then, if they want to do anything else on the internet that month, they have to buy even MORE data. It can get really expensive very quickly,” Munce continued.

Broadband is increasingly important for full participation in 21st century society. Maribeth Hammer, a Lyndon Township resident, described the situation: “We live in Washtenaw County, within twenty miles of the University of Michigan, seven miles from downtown Chelsea and cannot get a high-speed internet connection. My husband has to drive to the Chelsea District Library to complete many of his work requirements, as well as my children with their college and job-hunting connection needs.”

Lyndon residents who would like to know more about this project are encouraged to attend informational meetings scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 and Thursday, July 20. These meetings will be held at the Lyndon Township Hall, 17751 N. Territorial, at 7:00 p.m. both evenings. You can also find a FAQ here