The following was submitted to the Holland Sentinel and printed July 24. Unfortunately, the signatories are currently missing from the online version, and they were smashed together in print. Re-posting the original here for clarity:
To the Editor,
As downtown business owners, we’ve experienced Holland BPW’s Fiber Internet service firsthand. It has been a game-changer.
Retail businesses aren’t offline. They need a reliable internet connection for credit cards, phones, online storefronts, and take-out orders. Anyone who tried to use a cell phone during a Tulip Time parade knows cell networks don’t cut it. BPW’s reliability and local customer service (humans you can talk to) beats the competition by a mile.
Marketing companies spend the day uploading giant images and videos. Gigabit upload speeds make this feel instantaneous, instead of arduous. This becomes a competitive advantage.
Tech companies connect to people and computers worldwide. Fast, reliable access gives them an edge and improves their own services. Downtown has become “sticky” for companies who can’t get a connection this good elsewhere.
Shared workspaces need enough bandwidth for an office full of people. It only takes a few video calls and downloads to saturate a typical ISP.
Before BPW’s downtown project, many of us tried to find better options. The big ISPs talk a good game, but can’t deliver at reasonable prices. BPW’s system is a community asset worthy of expansion.
COVID-19 forced us to work from home, where we immediately missed our BPW internet. Zoom calls were less reliable. Files took longer to upload. We pay more at home than we do downtown, for lower-quality service.
We also live here, as do our employees. We want future employees to also choose Holland.
We encourage everyone to vote “Yes!” on August 2.
Daniel Morrison, Collective Idea
David Steenwyk, Macatawa Technologies
Rich Evenhouse, Next Creative Co.
Jenny Van Veen, Frances Jaye
Matthew Scott, Lemonjello’s Coffee
Sophia Leongas, Curragh
Bob Schulze, Globe Design and Vision
Butch TerHaar, Butch’s Dry Dock
Bill & Kat Blair, Evolve by Design
Michael Fitzharris, Hops at 84 East
Adam Lee, George’s Smoke Shop
Mike Ellis, Spindance