Lyndon Township Residents Voice Strong Support for Broadband Proposal

LYNDON TOWNSHIP, Michigan – March 23rd, 2016 – Following strong support from residents, the Lyndon Township Board has approved funding for a feasibility study to explore construction of a fiber optic network to provide township-wide access to broadband internet. At the March 22nd meeting of the Lyndon Township Board, over seventy enthusiastic township residents came to voice their support for the feasibility study proposal, which was then approved unanimously by the Board.

Lyndon Township, like many townships in Western Washtenaw County, is significantly underserved in regards to broadband. This can come as a surprise to residents from other areas that are well served by broadband – given how important broadband is for participation in modern society.  It is hard to understand how significant parts of the region can be without it. Yet Lyndon Township is not an outlier when it comes to broadband challenges – more than 8,500 households in Western Washtenaw County do not have access to broadband service. 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. Our out-of-town guests and our returning-home college students are amazed that they cannot complete many ordinary Internet related tasks.  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 Township and the surrounding areas are lacking broadband coverage from incumbent cable and DSL due to population densities that are too low to support the return on investment rates that these companies require.  These providers have indicated that they have no plans to expand coverage into the unserved areas of Western Washtenaw County. In response, residents without broadband service have come together and formed a non-profit organization called the Michigan Broadband Cooperative to build and operate community-controlled broadband infrastructure. This cooperative will work with municipalities to build a high-speed fiber optic to the home network that can provide next-generation broadband access to all residents. This initiative will operate as an open access network, over which private internet service providers can compete to provide service on a level playing field.

It is part of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative’s mission to demonstrate the viability of providing equal access to high speed broadband services and create equal opportunity to students, workers, and businesses irrespective of where they choose to locate. Further, the Michigan Broadband Cooperative seeks to develop a model that can be scaled for other communities and ultimately to light up all unserved areas of Michigan with high speed broadband access that will wipe out the homework gap for students of all ages and catalyze economic expansion.

The feasibility study that the Lyndon 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 Lyndon Township. Based on the results of this study, Lyndon 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.

This Lyndon Township effort follows similar successful municipal and grass roots broadband efforts from around the country, including a recently completed fiber-to-the-home project in Sebawing, Michigan – the state’s first “Gigabit Village”. Each Sebawing household now has access to connection speeds of up to one gigabit per second, as well as standard broadband speeds that are more affordable and reliable than comparable cable broadband offerings. Additionally, Laketown Township in Allegan County on the west side of the state has successfully completed a fiber to the home feasibility study and is moving ahead with a millage initiative on their May ballot to fund the project.

While Lyndon Township is the first in Washtenaw County to take action toward improving their own broadband situation, the Michigan Broadband Cooperative is working with other Western Washtenaw municipalities to move forward with similar efforts in those areas. Ben Fineman, President of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative, says: “Broadband has become an essential service, and it’s unacceptable for so many households in our area to lack access. Our communities are filled with people who are more than willing to step up and help to build broadband, but none of us can do it on our own. We formed this cooperative as a way for community members to work together and take action to solve the problem ourselves – no one else is going to do it for us. We’re encouraging anyone without broadband who wants to get involved to contact us and see how you can help.”


The Michigan Broadband Cooperative is a grass roots, non-profit organization with the mission of building open access, community controlled broadband infrastructure for unserved and underserved areas of Michigan. Formed in March of 2015, the Michigan Broadband Cooperative is governed by a volunteer board of eight Washtenaw and Jackson County residents. To date, over one hundred and fifty individuals have joined in the Michigan Broadband Cooperative’s mission. 

Volunteer Meeting: February 11th

We are having our first volunteer meeting – we hope you can join us on Thursday, February 11th at 7pm at the Chelsea Senior Center!

I hope everyone is enjoying this unseasonably warm winter – while we’ve missed family sledding activities, I have not missed using the snow shovel. Our broadband group is approaching a milestone – our first volunteer meeting! As someone who has expressed interest in helping to improve broadband in our area, we hope you will consider joining us on Thursday, February 11th at 7pm8pm at the Chelsea Senior Center. At this meeting we will discuss 2016 goals for the group, and divide into committees to accomplish these goals. Even if you can’t attend the meeting, you can still let us know you’d like to help by filling out this form.

We’d also like you to be among the first to know that we are changing the name of the organization from Pure Broadband to the Michigan Broadband Cooperative to more clearly represent our mission. We will launch the organization with this new name in the following weeks with the help of our volunteers.

Finally, we are now able to accept donations. All of our board members are unpaid volunteers, so 100% of donations will go to accomplishing our mission. Please note that while we are a non-profit organization, donations to cooperatives are not tax deductible. Donate here!

Thanks for your attention – it is through our joint community effort that we will continue to make progress toward our broadband goals.

New Website, New Name

If you’re one of the residents in Washtenaw and Jackson Counties with poor broadband, you may be visiting this website and thinking “why haven’t I heard of this group sooner??” There is a good reason for that – although a few of us have been talking for several months now, we’ve only just settled on a name and put up a website. So, you’re not late to the party, you’re just in time to help us get rolling! Michigan Broadband Cooperative is made up entirely of community members from Washtenaw and Jackson Counties, with one simple goal – broadband for all of us. We’ve talked to the cable and DSL companies, and they aren’t going to run cables to our communities – too expensive. We’ve talked to the cellular carries, and their services either lack coverage, have data caps, or both. We’ve talked to our friends at the local wireless ISPs, and they are currently our best bet – but their wireless solutions are only a bandaid on the problem. We need an organized community effort to bring robust broadband service to our unserved and underserved areas – and Michigan Broadband Cooperative is that effort. We hope you will join us as we move forward with tangible efforts to bring broadband to our community, with the long term goal of gigabit fiber to the home.