Update on the Waterloo Township Meeting

On January 30th, Waterloo Township held an informational meeting on Bringing Better Broadband to Waterloo. Approximately 75 people attended filling the township hall (see photos). The residents were very eager to learn how they too could have access to high speed internet.

During the meeting, there was a 30 minute presentation that covered:
— Community value of having internet
— Approach taken by Lyndon and Sharon Townships
— Cost comparison to Sharon Township
— Next step requesting the township board to sponsor a feasibility study

After the presentation, there was an engaging question and answer session. The feedback was very positive. A special thanks goes to Lyndon Township resident Gary Munce. He shared with the group Lyndon’s quest for better internet and an update on the build out of their community network.

Currently a petition is circulating in support of the feasibility study. On February 27th, a number of residents will attend the township board meeting to discuss next steps for our community.

Please consider joining the discussion at the Waterloo Township Hall 7:00 pm on Feb. 27th.

Waterloo Township Broadband Meeting

On Tuesday, January 30 at 7:00 pm, please join us for an informational meeting on Bringing Better Broadband to Waterloo Township.  There will be a presentation on the value of having access to true high speed internet.  This is an important meeting for everyone in the community. 

The meeting will be held at Waterloo Township Hall 9773 Mt Hope Road Munith, MI 49259.  Please share this invitation with your neighbors and friends.

Lyndon Township Broadband Vote Passes Two to One

LYNDON TOWNSHIP, Michigan – August 8, 2017 – On August 8, Lyndon Township residents approved a bond proposal to fund construction of a community owned fiber optic broadband network serving every home in Lyndon Township. The vote passed with 622 (66%) voting yes, and 321 (34%) voting no, and at a record high non-general election voter turnout of over 43%. This initiative will bring 21st century internet access to all Lyndon Township residents.

 

With the approval of the proposal, Lyndon Township will proceed with activities to execute the public bids, contracts, and decisions that will go into the design, construction, and operation of the fiber optic network. Once completed, the township will then partner with one or more private service providers to deliver internet access to residents. The feasibility study has suggested that the network should be up and running by the end of 2018. The $7 million project will be funded by a bond backed by a 20-year millage, with an average annual millage rate to retire the bonds estimated at 2.91 mills ($2.91 per thousand of taxable value). 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. Estimated costs for basic internet access will be between $35-45 per month. This internet service will provide a basic speed of 100Mb, with no caps on data usage, with 1Gb (gigabit) speeds available for about $60-70 per month. The average combined cost of the millage for infrastructure and monthly fee for basic service will be between $57-67 per month.

 

Lyndon Township is a rural community located a few minutes north of Chelsea, Michigan and about twenty minutes west of the city of Ann Arbor. Despite this proximity to the sixth largest city in Michigan, residents of Lyndon Township are almost entirely lacking in the broadband connectivity that most of the state takes 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.”

 

The Michigan Broadband Cooperative is a grass roots, non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers from communities in western Washtenaw County and eastern Jackson County. The Cooperative has been working with municipalities in the area, including Lyndon Township, to research and enact strategies to build broadband service where none exists. Following the vote, Lyndon resident Ben Fineman, who also volunteers as president of the  Cooperative, said “This moment is bigger than Lyndon Township. Lyndon Township’s success has the potential to provide a transformative model not only to other rural townships of Washtenaw County, but also to rural communities throughout the state. I am hopeful that our success can contribute to closing the gap for the other 458,000 Michigan households who are still lacking broadband access.”

 

Media Contact:
info@mbcoop.org
(734) 436-1999

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

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