Broadband success in Lyndon Township

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photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Lyndon Township broadband project is a great example of a community coming together and making something positive happen for the greater good.

This project reached a great moment recently when those who helped to lead it announced its completion.

The Lyndon Township Broadband Implementation Committee issued a press release this past week to highlight this moment and look ahead.

In giving some history of the project, the Broadband Implementation Committee said it was in 2016, “when Lyndon township residents began a community conversation on how to address the lack of access to reliable high-speed internet.”

“Weighing options and gathering community input at a series of town halls and meetings, these conversations resulted in a ballot measure in August of 2017 to build a fiber optic network reaching all households in the township. The Lyndon Township Implementation Committee has announced that the project is now complete.”

Here are a few of the project highlights detailed by the committee:

  • Over 900 households are now connected with reliable high-speed internet service, representing over 85 percent of Lyndon Township residents.
  • Services include not only fiber broadband, but also telephone service and managed Wi-Fi.
  • Service levels are $35/month for 50Mbps service, $45/month for 250Mb service, and $70/month for 1Gbps service. All levels of service are symmetric (uploads speeds match download speeds) and adhere to principals of privacy and net neutrality.
  • Over 68 miles of mainline fiber optic cable was buried along public and private roads, along with 79 miles of cable buried for drops (from the road to the house) for a total of 147 miles of cable.
  • Cable was installed in the rolling hills, stream and lake-filled landscape of the township. Utmost care was taken to protect our surroundings including endangered species in the township.

“Today, residents of Lyndon Township have high-speed internet service that is vital to the education, health, safety and quality of life for Lyndon residents,” the Broadband Implementation Committee said. “This service makes it possible to close the “homework gap”, promote professional development, enable lifelong learning, ensure access to information, telemedicine and entertainment services and provide connections to family and friends.”

Another big part of the project’s success highlighted in the press release are the community members who put their support behind this important endeavor and lent a hand in some way.

“The project was challenging and complex and was made possible by a concerned and coordinated effort including volunteers, expertise of residents, engagement of township officials and community support. The Lyndon Township Broadband Implementation Committee was formed following a call for volunteers and was comprised of five core committee members and ten more subcommittee members. The core committee was led by then Lyndon Township Supervisor Marc Keezer, with committee members Dawn Brennan, Ben Fineman, Andrea Kline, Kevin McLaughlin and Gary Munce. The committee met at least weekly for the duration of the project and was pleased to hold their final meeting on Wednesday, December 16.”

The members of the Broadband Implementation Committee also give special thanks to Andrea Kline and extended its sincere condolences to her family.

“Andrea was a member of the Implementation Committee and passed away before the project was completed. Her expertise in permitting, her understanding and passion for environmental issues, and her well-organized problem-solving skills were key to the success and quality of the project.”

Now with the completion of the construction and installation phases of the project, Lyndon Township is looking ahead by establishing an Oversight Committee.

According to the press release, this committee is made up of Lyndon residents with in-depth knowledge of information technology and who will serve in an advisory capacity to the township board.

This group is charged with monitoring the ongoing physical performance of the network as well as working closely with the Township’s Internet Service Provider, Midwest Energy and Communications (MEC), to ensure customer satisfaction with the services they are receiving.

Residents are instructed to contact MEC first to resolve any service issues they may be experiencing, but the Oversight Committee (email: Oversight@lyndonbroadband.org) is in place to resolve any issues that residents may have with MEC.

In reaching this moment, the township’s Broadband Implementation Committee knows there’s still work to do around the county and state for many people still lacking access.

“While Lyndon Township has achieved ubiquitous high-speed internet access, surrounding townships in Washtenaw, Jackson, and Livingston counties all have significant numbers of residents who still lack access. Washtenaw County alone has over 20,000 residents who lack access to high-speed internet,” the committee says in its press release. “The County has convened a Broadband Taskforce to address this issue by working to build public-private partnerships with the goal of attracting grant funding to build broadband infrastructure in under-served areas. The Lyndon Township project has provided an important foundation on which the county is building successfully to bring high-speed internet access to all County residents.”

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