When we tell people where we live we have a lot of great things to say. I don’t have anything but joyful praise for the lakes, the beaches, the two lighthouses, Thompson Harbor State Park, or the ‘dark skies’ that reveal the entire milky way on most clear nights. BUT, then there is the Internet!!! It comes up in any conversation you have with any of our residents. Even wireless phones don’t work in many parts of our beautiful world.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?! We have satellite Internet (Viasat and Hughesnet) but they are far from adequate and don’t support business requirements such as VPN (Virtual Private Networks) and VOIP (Voice Over IP phone). We have SpeedConnect which is slow and highly unreliable now and who is converting to become a Viasat provider by May of next year, and we can use AT&T or Verizon Hot Spots that are weak and in many parts of PI non-existant. That is a LONG way from a REAL high-speed Internet service that is offered in larger cities such as Alpena and Rogers City. They have or soon will have 100 MPS service, while we have 12 MPS at BEST (and real-world tests show it almost NEVER gets to their advertised speeds). The COST of our system is far higher than what customers in Alpena and Rogers Citys have available. We need ALL potential suppliers to truly HEAR about our situation, and they need to feel PRESSURE to move forward toward getting our area the services we deserve.
We need to lobby our politicians to help us get the attention of Frontier (who controls the poles and lines in our area), and AT&T who is expanding their high-speed internet products in Northern Michigan. AT&T owns UVerse high-speed internet and currently has a merger pending with Time Warner. They desperately want to compete with Verizon which has fiber optics in many large cities in the US. AllBand, a cooperative fiberoptic network to the west of us that ‘might’ be a partner for some sort of system for us but they are not well funded and has had spotty service to its existing customers. That said, they might be an alternative for us but would need to apply for a grant from the government to fund the project since they could not fund it by themselves.
WHO TO CALL (click the link for email and phone information):
WHAT TO SAY:
- That having Internet speeds ONE-TENTH of the speeds in nearby cities, and paying three to four times the price, is a not so hidden TAX on our residents.
- Every week people looking for homes in the Association back out after finding that they will have very sub-standard Internet for their own work needs, streaming of content, and most importantly their children and grandchildren! YOUR HOME VALUES ARE AFFECTED NEGATIVELY by lack of high-speed Internet.
- We can’t have another HALF WAY RESPONSE from our providers. Frontier owns the poles and provides only high priced landline services to us, not even DSL. What would they need to give us the upgrade we need??? Our representatives need to put pressure on, and or assistance to, our existing providers to get us the service upgrades we need.
- Are there any grants, programs, or subsidies on the State or Federal level to help us attract a provider? Can the representative help? What happened to the FCC money taken off all our cell phone and Internet bills for decades? It is missing in action right now! WHY?
- ASK WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM THAT AFFECTS NOT JUST US BUT MOST OF OUR COUNTY! Are they truly engaged or is it just a stump speech paragraph at election time!
- Make sure they understand that this is an issue that will weigh on your VOTE!
We need to make a concerted effort to get a real response from our elected officials!