By Lonnie Huhman,
There are parts of Dexter Township where broadband internet service is not available.
This puts residents in those areas in a tough spot. From students needing to watch an educational video online to a senior citizen wanting to video chat with family in another state, Dexter Township has some needs during this era of technology and its many uses.
According to Dexter Township Supervisor Harley Rider, Charter/Spectrum has service available to approximately 73 percent of Dexter Township residents.
“Some of our residents use satellite-based internet, or cellular-based internet, though those usually have data caps and are occasionally degraded by weather,” Rider said. “Some of our residents don’t have access to Charter, or clear access to satellite or cellular. These areas are primarily in less densely populated parts of the township where lots may be larger and houses located farther from the road, making cable service more costly per hook-up, so commercial providers don’t find it economically feasible to install the infrastructure.”
He said this includes the south-west part of Dexter Township, and some areas in the west and central areas of the township, as well as a few in the more remote lakes area.
Because of the economic feasibility challenges, there have been few, if any, gestures by providers to change the situation. However, that may have changed recently when Comcast reached out to ask the township for its support in a grant application.
At its Aug. 20 board meeting, the township board unanimously approved providing a letter of support for Comcast in its application for a grant through the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) Grant Program.
According to the website, Michigan.gov, the program is an opportunity to extend broadband service into under-served areas in Michigan. The grant funds are available to projects that demonstrate collaboration to achieve community investment and economic development goals of the area impacted.
Rider said at the meeting it wasn’t 100 percent sure that Comcast would include Dexter and Manchester townships in the application, but because there was a chance, probably 90 percent Comcast would, the township is putting its support behind the application.
Township board trustee Mike Compton said the main priority, no matter what provider is going for the application, is getting broadband to the under-served parts of the township.
“Somebody needs to get broadband out there,” Compton said. “If this will do it then I think we should support.”
The timeline required the grant application be submitted by Aug. 30. Those awarded the grant help would hear about it sometime in the next three months.