Catching me by surprise this morning was front-page news that Laketown Township will vote on a fiber broadband project in May. Laketown Township is just southwest of Holland.
The meeting minutes (see Article IX on Page 2) has the details. The township will raise a millage of 1.6572 mills ($1.6572 per $1,000 of taxable value) to pay for the project’s estimated $8.6 million cost. The network will be available to all township residents, but prioritize those without access to broadband today.
The proposal will be on the May 3rd ballot for residents to vote on. Pending approval, it could take 8 months for availability. They’re targeting a price of $50-60/month.
While this is unrelated to our discussion with Holland BPW, it sounds good and complimentary. We support Laketown Township’s effort to bring better broadband to their citizens! Hopefully as more fiber is built, the governments involved can work together to make access better and even more affordable.
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Here is a link to the Laketown Fiber to the Home Report:
Township Manager Al Meshkin assured me that more information on this ballot proposal will be posted to the Township website by the end of March. www.laketowntwp.org
@Ryan Bosscher: Thanks for sharing that!
Here are some maps showing the current Broadband Internet coverage in Laketown Township it appears the Township has about 70% coverage. Fiber Optics Township wide would fill in this 30% gap and provide higher speeds for everyone, provided you are willing to pay the extra taxes and if you choose to have service the higher monthly service rates. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3NON-GBbOiPS2dTV2RxaEFTTFE/view?usp=sharing
There are additional maps here: http://www.connectmi.org/community_profile/find_your_county/michigan/allegan. I specifically like looking at the Maximum Advertised Download Speed one, but that gives no hints on price or if it is truly available, or simply advertised.
The Township website now has information on the Fiber Optic Internet ballot proposal. Go to www.laketowntwp.org and click on the “Laketown gig” link or here is a direct link: http://www.laketowntwp.org/news-you-can-use/laketown-gig/
The Holland BPW just released a document that proposes system wide Fiber Optic Internet. here is a link to the document: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3NON-GBbOiPeWs4Y285cVdTRVk/view?usp=sharing This plan is so much better than Laketown’s plan because there is no increase in property taxes. In this case Holland BPW is considering being the actual Internet Service Provider (ISP) whereas in Laketown it will likely be Charter or Comcast. If Holland BPW is the ISP then customer service and response times will be fast and local with greater accountability. Also Holland BPW is not in it for the profit they just need to generate enough funds to keeps things running and upgrade when necessary. Financing for the Holland BPW project will be rolled into monthly internet bills, so unlike Laketown’s plan only those that use the service pay for the infrastructure. Roughly 10% of Laketown residents are within the BPW service area (1 apartment complex a 6 high density condo complexes)and would be have access to this Holland BPW Fiber Optic Internet. If the Laketown proposal fails maybe Holland BPW could serve all of Laketown. Laketown should be collaborating with Holland BPW not trying to go off on their own, together great things can happen.
The Holland Sentinel just published an article about the Holland BPW project which will overlap some of the Laketown Fiber Optic internet project area. Here is the article: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20160328/holland-bpw-considers-starting-fiber-optic-internet-utility I have requested that this article be corrected it erroneously states in reference to the Laketown Twp Fiber Optic Internet proposal: “Next door — but outside of the BPW’s service area” This statement is false. You may recall the Electric Franchise battle that Laketown had with the Holland BPW in 2013, the Holland Sentinel article stated there were 630 Holland BPW electric customers in Laketown Twp at that time. The Laketown Fiber Optic proposal says that there are currently 2,700 potential customer accounts in all of Laketown Twp for their project. So 630/2700= 23.33% of all Laketown potential fiber optic customers are also within the Holland BPW service area, note I am talking about customer accounts not population.
On page 90 of the BPW proposal it gives one option of financing this project with a $1,000 Special Assessment and a $500 connection fee. So if the Laketown proposal and the Holland BPW proposal are both approved 23.33% of all Laketown customers would be assessed for two separate but overlapping Fiber Optic internet projects if the Holland BPW were to choose this financing method, other financing options are listed in the Holland BPW proposal. My recommendation would be to support the Holland BPW project over Laketown’s, the Holland BPW has a history of excellent customer service.