Update on T-Mobile and StarLink

First things first. I got the T-Mobile unit and it is simple to set up, just plug it in and turn it on, and once I got the best location in my house for the unit, I am getting 9-11 Mbps Download and 2-3 Mbps Upload speeds. The big hint is aim it to the NORTH. The tower with the best connection is the one US 23 heading into Rogers City. The tower on Grand Lake Road heading out to US 23 to the south is not as strong for me. Both those towers are used by ALL the cell phone providers. I had to put it in the bedroom for the best signal. But this is a huge improvement for me from SpeedConnect so they are gone now. This unit does have a battery backup for up to eight hours, and can be plugged into your existing router if you wish, OR it has its own router installed. You can have up 10 devices on the 2.4 mhz band, and up to 10 on the 5 mhz band. I was streaming three 4K TV’s, two computers, two cell phones, and my Blink system with no hassles.

BUT, there is a dark side for some of you along Grand Lake Road and North Bay. T-Mobile, as well as Verizon and AT&T have very weak or no signal in those areas. The ridge that runs through the area both absorbs the wireless signal and bounces it high over your area. You have the ability to try T-Mobile Internet and return it in 20 days with no charge, so it may be worth trying.

In Krakow Township ‘most’ of the area west of US 23 should be great, so I would definitely give it a try there since both the nearby towers should give you plenty of signal.

I am working with their techies to see if there are adjustments that can be made to take the signal closer to the 50 Mbps they are targeting. One thing to add to the mix, but T-Mobile has a very powerful 5G product and it is rolling out in Northern Michigan. IF and WHEN it gets here the Internet offering will get much better too, since it is the 5G signal that is giving it real punch. They ‘say’ 2021 it will arrive here so their product will improve over time, at least you would expect that to happen. We shall see!

STARLINK offering by Elon Musk

Now this one has REAL promise. Never bet against Elon is something I have come to believe, so his Starlink offering has some promise. It is NOT tied to existing technology, but rather thousands of satellites launched by his SpaceX rockets. It is a self install, and costs $499 for the receiver, and $99 a month for unlimited service. Unlike the existing satellite providers, HughesNet and Viasat, these satellites are Low Earth orbit so they should avoid the latency and extra charges you run into with the others. It is also ‘unlimited’ usage, so that 99 bucks is all you will pay monthly.

FIRST, go to their site and sign up to be a ‘beta’ tester. You are under no obligation, but will be notified when they are ready early next year. There site is: https://www.starlink.com/

Second, take a look at this video to see how the system works, and how real users are getting some very high speed servicer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8XffqUGb6I&ab_channel=JoshBurnsTech

WHAT ABOUT FIBER?

Well, fiber to the home is STILL the best thing we could hope for. Right now the Government is running bidding for PI County and both Krakow and PI Township. This is a blind process, but there is more than one company in the mix. CCC is there because they told us that, but any others no one knows right now. Fiber is a 50 year product, and the cable is buried so it is impervious to weather, and it is SCALABLE in the future to multigigabit ranges. I can only hope that government funding will give some incentive to handle our difficult geology. I will keep you posted if anything is announced.

HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING!!!!

Mike

Internet Options are getting better for PI and Krakow!

Ok, COVID sucks, and no or slow Internet really sucks! BUT, there is a new options for us now that was not available until just recently.

T-Mobile Internet service. It is a hotspot, that is powered by an enhanced 4G LTE network. The cost is $50 a month, NO contract, NO data caps, and currently 50 Mbps Download AND Upload. That is more than you will need to power your house and stream simultaneously on multiple TV’s included 4K. Go check it out and see if your area is covered HERE. Also, they are planning true 5G to this area, but can’t give a hard date, but it might well be available, depending where you are, next year. That will blow away Comcast and Frontier, and make SpeedConnect seem like an old radio flyer wagon. YES, I have it on order myself and should have it, and fully tested it by the 10th of December. They do NOT charge for the equipment either and you don’t need to change your cell phone. There are some areas of PI that may not be available now along Grand Lake Road, but you can check that with your address. Easy sign up, no deposits or hidden charges. This will be great for people with kids on remote learning.

They already have some backorders on the equipment so now might be the time since there is little risk, especially if you have SpeedConnect.

Will keep you posted. There are some other options I am looking at but this one is the quickest and most promising.

Stay safe, have a great Thanksgiving, and enjoy our beautiful area.

Mike

Updating the Updates

Well here is where we are on the High-Speed Internet project.

  1. CCC has towers up at the PIHA Maintenance area and in Posen. Leases are in place for those and for the PIHA Campground. At this time no other leases have been completed in PI. In Krakow there are four sites that have been preliminarily offered, but neither leases or approval have been requested or approved, but it is expected that they will proceed in the very near future.
  2. Equipment has almost entirely arrived, BUT the FCC licences are being processed, but due to the COVID shutdown of by the government the wheels are turning slowly. CCC believes that two to three weeks more should do it.
  3. CCC has already made a substantial investment into the equipment needed to send, relay, and receive true high-speed Internet in PI and Krakow Township.
  4. Without spinning your heads with technical terms, the equipment that CCC will be installing is designed to penetrate trees, reduce the dependance on ‘line of sight’ connections, and provide increased reliability and speed. In short although we have a few more weeks to wait, the new technology is well worth it.
  5. CCC has focused on North Bay and other underserved areas in PI and Krakow. BUT until the equipment is installed on the towers and fired up they will not know exactly where the coverage from the first towers will land peripherally from the tower.
  6. In the coming weeks CCC will be contacting resident near the existing towers to officially sign them up for the service. If you receive an email or phone call from CCC please respond quickly so they can accurately determine the number of customers in the serviced area.

That is where we currently are with the project. After a year and a half it appears as if the delays at the PI Township level have at the very least abated. It should be duly noted that after a year of fussing over ordinances it now appears that we have put that behind us. It should be noted the last year of delays unfortunately also coincided with the COVID lockdowns at the local, state and federal levels to compound the time spent dramatically.

Kudos to PIHA for making the two sites available for towers on property they own, and for acting expeditiously to complete the leases. They have shown real vision in moving to this project along.

Krakow Township has also done a lot of work to offer sites and clear away barriers that had been in the old zoning ordinances. It is anticipated that once we get a signal at the existing towers that things move quickly there as well.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember is that FIBER TO THE HOME is what this entire project is about, and contrary to what some naysayers have discussed, the Wireless solution, was and remains a temporary solution to provide residents with service in the interim AND provide CCC with the cash flow and positive business case reinforcement so they can make the HUGE investment into the fiber. They can’t invest in our area without the wireless commitment.

Everything above is the opinion and observations of Mike Rehling alone. I don’t speak for anyone else, or any other group or political entity, and certainly NOT for CCC.

I will work to keep you all informed of any changes, issues, and most certainly successes going into the future. If you have questions use the CONTACT link and I will do my best to get you answers.

Mike

Results of the Planning Commission Meeting

Well, the PI Planning Commission finally gave the overall approvals that are needed. The Portage Deli can, when all terms are agreed to, add a ‘repeater’ to the existing mast they have on their property. If all goes as well that will provide services to North Bay and the Harbor area.

Also approved is the ability to use existing masts in the area, some of which are or have been used for residents and business to get Speedconnect, to have repeaters added. This will allow CCC, as they get paid subscribers in underserved pockets of Presque Isle, to provide wireless and build the subscriber base to support eventual Fiber to those areas.

THE most important takeaway for any of us in PI or Krakow Townships is that WE have to commit ourselves to Cherry Capital Connections or CCC won’t be ABLE to commit itself to our communities. CCC is NOT funded by government money. Charter, Frontier, AT&T, Verizon, ALL get subsidies from the government, substantial subsidies. CCC DOES NOT! It is their capital, they have to borrow to cover the costs of building the system and years to get positive on that investment. WE NEED TO SUPPORT THEM, OR THEY SIMPLY CAN’T SUPPORT US! They have to make business decisions, and they have other places to put their efforts and capital.

The delays have been regrettable, to say the least, but as the old Japanese saying goes, “Don’t fix the blame. Fix the problem.” We need to move on and get to the point where we get High Speed Wireless, NOT a Speedconnect wireless product, but one that works, and will lead us to Fiber for the future.

I walked out of the meeting last night, because I just could not sit and listen to the issue of the delays being laid on CCC alone. It has taken a year in which many of us suffered through lockdowns with no Internet, no ability to Zoom our grandchildren, our doctors, or have any reliable cell phone service (High Speed Wireless would solve that for us with VOIP), while standards were reviewed, revised, and redone. We have spent a tough year without reliable Internet, and many of us in PI and Krakow have NO good options to this day. I am grateful that through all the delays CCC has stayed here, and Tim Mayone and his company stay committed, IF the people commit to CCC!!! That is the next step!!!

We will be keeping you informed, and I hope that no more roadblocks are tossed in the path. More later.

Just my thoughts,

Mike Rehling

Planning Commission Meeting October 5th at 7:00 PM

Mike Rehling here, and the following are my ‘personal’ views of the status of our efforts to get high-speed Internet. I represent no one. Just interested in getting something to make the community more attractive to live in, and provide the ‘essential’ services that the Internet provides, most especially in the times we live in right this moment.

Well, we are still plugging along to our goal for High-Speed Internet in Presque Isle and Krakow Township. The plans have been completed, submitted to the PI Board, and it is functioning at the Deli and at La Farge already and has been. Towers are up at the PIHA Maintenance area, and in Posen where the source of the feed for our area will be coming from as soon as the equipment arrives from suppliers. Our ultimate ‘Fiber to the Home’ connection is also in Posen, but that involves laying the fiber, and it a bit late to even think about that this year.

Wireless Internet is a ‘temporary’ path to provide high-speed Internet while a fiber to the home build, which will take two to three years to totally complete, is ongoing. This WAS THE PLAN FROM THE BEGINNING. The customers who sign up for the wireless solution will be providing the cash-flow incentive for Cherry Capital to go to the expense of installing Fiber in our geologically challenged area.

That brings us to the Planning Commission Meeting on October 5th at 7:00 PM!!!

First off, ‘planning’ is about the future, not the past. A wildly outdated Zoning Ordinance contemplated when the Internet was not contemplated obviously did not contain information to facilitate an internet project. SO, there was a special planning meeting to revise the wording accomplish an update ‘patch’ covering a wireless project by CCC (or anyone else for that matter) to provide service in the interim. In that meeting, ‘existing’ towers were discussed and people present (including me) felt that was to be included in the revised ordinance. It was NOT in the final version. So, the meeting on the 5th of October is settle two issues:

  1. Allow the use of the tower built to provide Internet service to the Deli could ALSO be used, to provide service to many NORTH BAY residents who have highly limited-service now from SpeedConnect only. The tower exists already, is perfectly legal, and adding a small repeater to it, with permission of the Deli owners, is ALL that is needed. This should be a NO BRAINER.
  2. Provide for a change to the zoning ordinance that ‘existing masts’ on homeowner or commercial property (think Library, Lakeshore Realty, etc.) can also be used to mount repeaters IF the Zoning Administrator APPROVES. It would NOT have to go to the Planning Commission for a ‘formal’ meeting that only ‘delays’ the process. If the Zoning Administrator does not approve it would go the Planning commission. This small change would avoid the delays and paperwork involved in the current process. If the tower EXISTS it should not require plans for approval. This is TOO REASONABLE, and should also pass.

PLEASE CONSIDER ATTENDING THIS MEETING, AND VOICE YOUR CONCERNS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN THE NORTH BAY AREA!!!

Mike Rehling

Thanks to everyone who supported this effort. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your assistance and kindness.

THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Final Post

Well, we are CLOSE to getting the Cherry Capital Communications system approved, and hopefully in the coming weeks UP and running in the Wireless Phase, and then on to planning and implementation of the Fiber to The Home.

Thanks to Krakow and Presque Isle Township officials who are helping to bring this to fruition!!!

It is now time for this site to transition all questions and communications to Cherry Capital so that their folks can handle your inquires and answer your questions.

CHERRY CAPITAL COMMUNICATIONS

WWW.CCCFIBER.COM

855-674-4159

sales@cccfiber.com

Thanks to everyone who supported this effort. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your assistance and kindness.

Mike Rehling

 

 

 

 

Frontier Update

Frontier Communications filed for Bankruptcy today. The full story is posted below, BUT this DOES NOT mean that your phone or Internet service will face any immediate interruption. That would not be allowed by the Bankruptcy judge. It DOES mean that Frontier will be restructuring its operations under the direction and approval of the Court. Their labor agreements will be voided and there may well be layoffs, sale of assets, and creditors and other interested parties can object or agree to their restructuring plans. This will take months, but not likely years since they have been in discussions with the creditors and publicly announced their intention several months ago.

The bondholders who are owed Billions will, after discharge from Bankruptcy, have full control of the company going forward. They will control all the shares in the new company when Frontier exits control by the court. This is not a big change since they control the Board of Directors now, and selected the new CEO.

In short no worries immediately. We will find out more in the coming months as they have to file their plans publicly to the court. We will keep you posted.

____

 

(Reuters) – Frontier Communications Corp has filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, the high-speed internet company said on Tuesday, as it restructures finances to cut down its borrowings by more than $10 billion.

The company, which warned on its ability to continue as a going concern last month, had been in discussions with some of its lenders and was also mulling restructuring options.

Frontier said it has entered an agreement with its bondholders and received $460 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

“With this agreement with our bondholders, we can now focus on executing our strategy to drive operational efficiencies and position our business for long-term growth,” President and Chief Executive Officer Bernie Han said.

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company estimated its assets and liabilities both in the range of $10 billion to $50 billion, according to a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Frontier also said it would continue with the sale process of its operations and assets in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to Northwest Fiber, and will also continue services and paying its vendors.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have Internet???

Speedconnect is DOWN AGAIN! Any company whose stock trades at less than a 1 cent a share is not something to count on! Frontier is fuzzy and in and out for my neighbors too, and they are days from filing Bankruptcy and a penny stock themselves!

ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO TELLS ME THE INTERNET IS NOT AN ‘ESSENTIAL SERVICE’ IS DELUSIONAL! We are under a stay at home order, which everyone here in PI and Krakow is abiding by, and we have no way to communicate with relatives, our cell phones are crap, and I am typing this with my cellphone laying by the windowsill to get any signal. My voicemails sometimes hit my phone a full 24 hours LATE! That and the fact that after the Covonavirus crisis who will want to buy a home here that has limited to no contact with the outside world? PI and Krakow are NOT the Alaskan wilderness, but it does seem like it some days for a substantial number of us.

We can’t get our approvals for Cherry Capital Communications to build their temporary towers because the Governor’s order (which I fully support) unfortunately prohibits almost ALL public meetings. IF we want to do one we would need the Internet, and OH, we don’t have much of that right now. We are working on alternative solutions and we will keep you posted, but with many of our residents right in the target age of the virus, this is VERY frustrating. I worry for my wife and me and I worry for my neighbors. 

Just know that CCC is working every angle, and Internet providers are NOT prohibited from working under the order, for the simple reason that they are considered an ‘essential service’ especially at this time. Hopefully when the Governor’s order is revised in a week or so it will allow more flexibility in public meeting alternatives. That is unless we find a creative and legal way to accomplish these approvals sooner.

We will keep you posted as to the progress if any, that we make and many folks in Township government ARE working hard to get this done. In the meantime STAY SAFE!!!

 

CHERRY CAPITAL UPDATE (after a busy week)

We have had a lot of activity this week and I wanted to wait until all the meetings were complete before providing a recap. All in all, this was a VERY productive week and we got past many of the legal issues that are required to begin the Wireless Build. One thing we need to make clear is that the Wireless solution is a TEMPORARY solution while the 3 years (estimated) build-out for Fiber takes place. The Wireless that CCC is proposing is NOT like older systems it is a 4G LTE system that is state of the art. MUCH higher speeds and a lot more reliable than either SpeedConnect or Frontier. The goal of Fiber to the Home is the primary reason for putting in the Wireless since two of our other providers are not providing total coverage for all residents, and have substantial financial problems that may affect their service offering in the future. We all feel we need something NOW to get us through.

WEEKS KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. Tim Maylone, President of Cherry Capital give a presentation of his plans to bring fiber to the community. This is an expensive process that will be in the millions. He is purchasing new equipment to handle our problematic 5 Ton ‘pebbles’ and is working to make the project go as smoothly as possible. The Wireless ‘bridge’ to fiber ‘should’ be started in May, and completed in June. We can’t give exact dates until all the legal approvals have been completed in Presque Isle and Krakow Township. Everyone is moving as fast as they can but public notice requirements and other issues have to be dealt with according to the standing ordinances. Both Townships are working to get this done quickly and we thank everyone involved.
  2. After Tim’s presentation to residents, the Board of Trustees met and took several actions to facilitate the project. They are requesting the last $50K from the State Grant immediately, and Tim agreed to provide some materials for them to include as they prepare to approve the release of the money. Also, as the Proof of Concept that is required as part of the grant, there will be a ‘test’ of the system at LaFarge who has agreed to be a customer of CCC. Three members of the relevant Township groups will verify the results. That successful test will release the last of the grant money and get the Wireless ‘bridge’ construction started.
  3. On Tuesday the Krakow Township’s board met and we discussed the Zoning and Planning areas efforts to get the appropriate approvals in place and we are anticipating that this will be completed by the middle of April. There ‘appear’ to be no real barriers that we see at the moment and the Township has been very supportive of the effort to get the Wireless bridge up in order to quickly move toward Fiber to the Home in the next three years. The Krakow and PI Wireless towers will support each other to provide the redundancy necessary for a very reliable system for both townships.
  4. On Thursday CCC met with the PIHA Board to seek approval of the two sites on PIHA property for Wireless Towers. One will be at the Campground property, and the other will be at Maintenance Shed Area across from the Clubhouse. Both areas will allow the towers to sit in unused forested areas. In consideration of these leases, CCC will provide service to the Clubhouse and to the Campground at levels that exceed what is currently available. Unfortunately, there was not a ‘quorum’ of the Board members available, and they agreed to hold a special meeting next Wednesday at 7:00 PM to take a vote. We are very hopeful it will be officially approved at that time. We thank Jacob Kroll and the Board of PIHA for their strong interest and support.

The project requires that the ENTIRE COMMUNITY show its support. As soon as we start construction on the Wireless bridge we will do another signup effort at the PIHA Clubhouse. We will keep residents posted as we progress, and if you have questions please use the Contact Page on this site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMINDER: March 9th CCC Presentation

On March 9, 2020 (a Monday) at 6:30 pm at the PI township hall community center CCC will be presenting: 

How CCC will fund the project and the associated timeline

The High-level design components,

Constructing:

Which includes improving 10 Fiber distribution centers capable of serving the first 800 households

Interconnecting the distribution centers with fiber,

Constructing fiber to interconnect with the Reach-3MC network

Connecting your location to the internet

After this presentation at 7:00 pm during the PI Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, we will be asking the PI BOT members to approve our Proof of Concept.