- How soon might I get broadband at my house?
There are 5 basic steps to build a broadband fiber network from scratch. It can be expected to take several years from start to finish.
- Assess Community Need and Establish Support
- Conduct Feasibility Study and Estimate Project Budget
- Secure Funding
- Engineer and Build Fiber Network
- Activate and Operate Network
The BBTF has complete steps 1 and 2. Once funding is secured, it can be estimated to take another 3-5 years to fully complete the project.
- How much will it cost to reach every home in all 15 townships?
Depending on the PFSA boundary, the project budget is estimated to range from $30M-$66M. The funding is expected to be a public private partnership; a blend of federal/state grant dollars, private investors and possibly a millage.
- What are the available financing options for this project?
- Bond backed by a Millage
- Pooling of Private Investors/Individual Contributions
- Philanthropic Benefactor
- Public Private Partnership
Funding mechanism not allowed for this type of project
- Special Assessment Districts
- Conventional Loan
- Township General Fund
- Can a single Township pursue a broadband build out independent from the 15 Township Project?
Yes. That Township would then be responsible for all 5 steps of the process.
- When I get broadband at my house, will my property taxes go up?
Possibly. Remember that taxable value increases are limited by the Headlee Amendment. The SEV is a different number and tracks with the market value of a property. Property taxes are calculated on the taxable value within the constraints of the Headlee amendment.
- How much will my monthly broadband service cost?
It depends on the financing and rate structure. If property owners pool their money to fund the project, the per investor cost will vary. If a millage is approved, the cost will be determined by taxable property value, reflected in the rate structure, the length of the millage and the interest rate on the bond to be paid off.
In Lyndon Township (2020), a resident can choose from 3 unlimited fiber internet plans; ranging from 25 Mbps @ $34.95/month to 1 Gps @ $69.95/month. http://www.lyndonbroadband.org/faq/# + millage
In Sharon Township (2017), it was estimated that the monthly cost for the average property owner ($77,000 taxable value) would be under $100 ($35 for unlimited high-speed broadband plus approximately $45 per month for the millage.)
- What can I do with broadband?
The Lyndon Township broadband web site features a comprehensive list.
- How did you determine who has broadband access and who does not?
Two techniques were used to survey the 15 townships.
- Online speed test conducted by survey participants at their home
- Visual assessment completed by an experienced internet network professional who drove all the roads in the 15 township area
- Coverage maps are available at www.washtenaw.org/broadband
- Why won’t the big ISP’s (internet service providers) expand their service areas?
The for-profit ISPs require a defined return on their investment (ROI) over a prescribed period of time. In the rural areas, where population densities are lower, the ROI takes too long to satisfy their shareholders.
- Will government solve this problem?
We’re working on it! The polarized partisan nature of Michigan’s legislature and the Congress makes consensus challenging at this time. The political will of our elected officials, will determine the direction of future public policy and funding.
- What can I do to support broadband expansion?
- Get to know your elected officials and ask them about their work on expanding broadband access.
- Federal and State Officials: https://www.270towin.com/elected-officials/
- Local Officials: contact your County Clerk’s office
- Submit a letter about your experience and concerns to your local media presence; newspapers, e-news outlets, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Testify at local meetings about your need for broadband access: County Commission, Township Board, City & Village Councils
- Talk to your neighbors and personal networks about the need for broadband expansion
- Form a Community Broadband Committee
Resource: Community Broadband Access Framework http://www.mbcoop.org/resources-2
- Is fiber future proof? Why is fiber better than cellular/wireless or satellite?
- Yes. Fiber has unlimited bandwidth and is the fastest, most reliable technology available today and for foreseeable future. Data travels at the speed of light on fiber.
- Cellular/wireless service isn’t viable because of high speed data caps, weather, rolling topography and trees.
- Satellite service also has data caps in addition to long lag times/latency.
- 5G is just another version of cellular, still slower with less bandwidth than a fiber connection, and only works where mini cells or antennas can be mounted/installed every 500 feet or so. Practical in cities where there are light polls and buildings close together.