Washtenaw County talks Broadband at a Town Hall meeting in Sylvan Township
The Washtenaw County initiative to roll out Broadband Internet for the entire county is an exciting prospect and there are probably a lot of people looking forward to hearing when they might be hooked up.
To give an update on the roll out, Washtenaw County Commissioners Jason Maciejewski and Shannon Beeman held a Town Hall meeting on Sept. 27, at Sylvan Township Hall.
The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with Maciejewski, who is commissioner for District 1, serving Dexter, Chelsea, as well as Scio, Dexter, Lima, Lyndon and Sylvan townships.
He said there were two overall goals for the meeting.
“The goal of the meeting was to provide an update to the community on the county’s broadband Internet project,” Maciejewski said.
“A year ago the county commission approved funding with American rescue plan act (ARPA) dollars to fill the gaps that were not covered by the rural development opportunity fund Broadband project and the connecting Michigan Communities Broadband project,” he explained. “The goal of the county commission was to provide broadband level internet access to every household in the county. I believe once this is achieved, Washtenaw County will be the first county in the state of Michigan to realize this.”
Another goal of the meeting, he said, was to share the new resources available on the county’s website about the project.
“People can now go to the website, type in their address and see which contractor will be doing the work and a projected completion date,” said Maciejewski. “It was also stated the entire project could be completed by the end of 2025, three years earlier than initially thought.”
One question posed to STN by a reader and asked to him was, is the county taking the control away from townships as it pertains to implementing broadband?
“No. Not at all,” he said. “This project brought together township governments to discuss and collaborate on how to achieve the goal. The Broadband task force was the vehicle to foster this collaboration. For me one of the great achievements of this project is that local governments and county government are working together with a citizen lead task force to achieve this goal. This collaborative approach enabled us as a County to coordinate our pursuit of funding and the eventual strategic installation of the broadband network.”
So a big question is when…
“We are currently expecting the installation of the broadband network for those who don’t currently have it to be completed by the end of 2025,” Maciejewski said. “Between now and then houses will be brought online as they are connected. Information can be found on our website regarding projected installation dates for homes that are currently without broadband Internet service.”
STN asked him if there was anything in particular that he wants the community to know.
“Through this project we are going to realize the goal of providing access to broadband level Internet service for all household in Washtenaw County,” he said. “Because of the work of the broadband task force, local governmental leaders, and county government Washtenaw County is poised to become the first county in Michigan to achieve this goal. Also, people can visit the broadband task force website for all of the information about the project and its roll out over the next few years.”
Here a two helpful website links:
The broadband project web site where people can check their address: https://arcg.is/18eHKb0
And the task force webpage: https://www.washtenaw.org/2867/Broadband-Task-Force