Lack of high-speed Internet in rural Michigan spurs new legislation

The Michigan Broadband Cooperative is pleased to share info about bi-partisan House Bill 4162 to improve broadband access in unserved parts of Michigan. This bill would provide an important tool for townships who are partially served by broadband, but have areas that are too rural to get coverage from traditional service providers. Use of special assessment districts would allow infrastructure builds in these areas to be funded by the residents who would specifically benefit from the network, which could then be operated through public-private partnerships. To read more click here

Preliminary Results of Sharon Twp Feasibility Study

Sharon Township has been working with CCG Consulting to conduct a feasibility study for broadband to all homes in the township. Yesterday (Feb 7, 2017), the president of CCG Consulting traveled from Florida to the Sharon Township Hall to discuss the preliminary results of the study. While the final results are not yet available, the preliminary results are very positive, and outline a number of viable options for the township. All of the options would be funded by a bond and a millage, but some models include reducing annual millage payments or the overall length of the millage by using revenue from monthly service fees. The most advantageous model proposed is that of a cohesive service operated across multiple townships under a cooperative or similar structure. Toward this goal, representatives from neighboring townships were invited to the meeting, and attendance included not only Sharon Township but also Lyndon, Dexter, Webster, Manchester, Sylvan, and Ann Arbor Townships, as well as several board members from the Michigan Broadband Cooperative. The finalized results of the Sharon Township study should be available in about two weeks.

Lyndon Broadband Update Jan, 2017

Greetings neighbors,

I hope that everyone had a great holiday, and that you are able to stay off the roads today – I don’t know about you, but our dirt road would have been a great place to play some hockey this morning. We’re long overdue with providing an update on the Lyndon Township broadband efforts, so I wanted to take this snow day opportunity to do so.

For some of you this may be your first post from me – my name is Ben Fineman, and I live in Lyndon Township on Beeman Road. I’m volunteering as the President of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative to help build broadband in our community.

Since we saw many of you at the town hall meeting back in June, we have not been idle. We heard clearly that we needed more information on real driveway lengths throughout the township, and on whether the broadband millage was likely to be approved by Lyndon Township residents. To that end we sent out a survey with summer taxes, the results of which can be found here. In summary, driveways are significantly shorter than the estimate we were using (330’ average vs 600’), and 68% of residents support the millage at the estimated 3.7 mils over twenty years. Based on this information we had been moving forward to target a ballot initiative for the May election.

In the meantime, our neighbor Sharon Township has been working to conduct their own broadband feasibility study with a different firm, CCG Consulting, and some of us from Lyndon have been participating in that. We’ve learned a lot since we first did the Lyndon study, and that experience has been helpful toward getting a better result in Sharon Township. Similarly the Sharon Township study has been helpful for us – this new consulting firm is providing cost estimates that we believe to be more accurate based on their methodology. The good news is they’ve taken a look at the report for Lyndon Township, and suggest that the cost estimates are too high, by as much as 15%.

The Lyndon Township residents who are working on this project, including myself, are very concerned that we put forward the best possible solution for our community. While it seems that the 3.7 mil amount would likely pass, we believe it is important to have a cost estimate that is as accurate as possible before we take the project to a vote. Because of this we have made the decision to defer the ballot initiative to the August election to allow time to update the cost estimate with the refined information and methodology that we now have.

While any delay is disappointing, we believe that three months is a small price to pay to get the best possible result for our community. We’re more confident than ever that we’re moving down the right path toward achieving much needed broadband access throughout the township. Please stay tuned for upcoming volunteer opportunities (and sign up as a volunteer on the website if you’d like), and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions.

Warm regards,

Sharon Township Dec 2016 Update

Sharon Township has contracted with CCG Consulting to conduct a feasibility study for a fiber to the home network for all Sharon Township residents.  Once the study is finished we will post it on this site.

Survey Summary: Lyndon Township Broadband Millage

During June of 2016, the Michigan Broadband Cooperative worked with the Lyndon Township Board to distribute a survey to all residents regarding strategies to improve broadband service in the Township. Specifically, the survey focused on 1) the perceived importance of broadband, 2) willingness to pay for broadband service, and 3) support for a millage for broadband infrastructure.
Number of Responses
294 total responses were recorded, excluding multiple responses from the same address. 240 of these responses were from registered votes, 36 were from non-registered voters, and 18 responses did not specify voter status.
How important is broadband?
When asked “How important is it to have high speed internet service at your residence?”, of registered voters, 67% said “very important”, 16% said “important”, 7% said “somewhat important”, and 10% said “not important”.

How long is your driveway?
After averaging all responses, the average driveway length in Lyndon Township is 331’. This suggests that the cost estimate can be reduced from the previous estimated average of 600’. This may reduce estimated costs by as much as $600,000 (new millage amount 3.4 mils).

How likely are you to pay $50/month for broadband service?
When asked “How likely are you to subscribe to an internet service that offers a speed of 25 Mbps or better with no data cap at $50 per month?”, of registered voters, 67% said “very likely”, 10% said “likely”, 6% said “somewhat likely”, and 17% said “not likely”.


How likely are you to support a millage for broadband?
When asked “How likely are you to vote for a 3.7 mil levy to connect every home in Lyndon Township to the internet?”, of registered voters, 52% said “very likely”, 16% said “likely”, 6% said “somewhat likely”, and 26% said “not likely”.



Sharon Township Moves Forward on Broadband

Sharon Township Board has budget money to conduct a feasibility study for building a fiber-to-the-home network. The feasibility study that the Sharon Township Board has approved will provide in-depth information regarding the estimated costs and revenues associated with building a fiber-to-the-home network in Sharon Township. Based on the results of this study, Sharon Township and the Michigan Broadband Cooperative will pursue funding options to build the network, which may include private investors, grants, municipal bonding and a millage initiative.