- Well, the work has begun in Presque Isle on the Frontier upgrade. Right now they are pulling the fiber up US 23 and conditioning the lines in the area to handle the Internet signal. This work is being done by Utility Contractors, and you will see PIEG and other trucks working on this project. The original lines were created for phone service so this is an important step that is being completed first. The project is STILL on target for completion in the first week of August. We will keep you all posted.
- Also, for those who are NOT in the build area from Frontier we are STILL working on getting a solution in place for all of you. I expect we ‘may’ have some real options to propose in the next few weeks. These would be a wireless solution with TRUE high-speed Internet, and a possible glide path to get fiber to the home in the ‘near’ future. This is exciting, but we are still working on the details, and interviewing providers. We will get back to everyone as quickly as we can.
- We are planning on filing an official complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) regarding our LACK of cell phone service in many of our most populated areas. We NEED you to use the ‘Contact’ section of this site to let us know of any specific issues you have had, especially when trying to contact Emergency Services! PLEASE provide your address and location if you have had issues so that we can pinpoint to the MPSC precisely where the problems are occurring. We have large swaths of our area that have NO cell service from either of the two largest providers. They have BOTH failed us. Now the MPSC is a bureaucratic institution but we want to get ‘on record’ with these issues. We will also be contacting our elected representatives to get their attention to the issue. Over the next few years, there will be upgrades proposed by the cell phone providers and we want to get on the radar at the very least.
We will keep you updated on our progress, but it is YOUR voices that politicians and government bureaucrats will respond to. THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THIS EFFORT SO FULLY!
The Internet build map in PDF is at this link: FRONTIER BUILD MAP!
A few observations before you pour over the map!
- All of the homes in one of the ‘RED’ areas of the map are in the main build which requires Frontier to prove to the FCC that a minimum service of 10 Mbps Download and 1 Mbps Upload is actually being received by those customers. Many homes ‘nearest’ to the node will be able to purchase much higher speeds if they need it. The variability of speeds is due entirely to the fact that the signal has to move over older copper lines constructed for landline telephone services.
- Those areas, notably North Bay Shores and 638 to the Lighthouses are not in the primary build area. The FCC did not provide funding for those areas. BUT, that does not mean you will not receive the Internet, but the speeds will not be guaranteed to meet the minimum. You could get service at 10/1 levels or lower depending on the strength of the signal. We will NOT know what you can be offered until the build is ‘complete’ in August. We are working to get grant money from the State for the Harbor and that will provide a node for full service to the areas outside the build, and out to the New Lighthouse. BUT we have no idea what, when, or IF any action will be taken on those requests this year or in the future.
- This build will bring full fiber to the Birch Hill Node and then it will be carried to the existing nodes where it will be boosted and sent on from there. Each node has ‘about’ a two-mile range, dependant on the state of the signal the number of homes on the system and the state of the existing wires. The signal ‘could’ carry much further and Frontier is doing everything they can to make sure anything that could impede the signal is cleared out, but we will just have to wait and see when the build is complete and they fire up the system exactly what is available to whom.
- As we noted in the Q&A of a previous post there are lots of reasons to be enthusiastic about this improvement to our Internet service. Check out that post and make your own assessment.
- IF you have a question PLEASE use the form on THIS SITE to contact us. I will try my best to answer questions ON the site. I can’t take emails on my personal account or answer questions on Facebook. It just is not possible. Frontier employees on 800 lines and installers in the area have little to NO knowledge of the build. Frontier, like all providers, do not take orders in advance of build completion. As soon as service is available we will let you know.
Before we start the Q&A on the new build from Frontier, we need to assure you that WE AIN’T DONE YET! We are working to get improved speeds and expand the impacted area of the summer of 2019 buildout in the Township. But we do not want the perfect to become the enemy of the ‘good’. The quicker we get fiber to the nodes the better off we will all be. We also want to improve the cellphone service in our area as well. We hear you but the issues are mixed with politics and bureaucracy. I can assure you that the bureaucracy delays are NOT from any of your local officials or the association, it the FCC, and the State of Michigan that can both help us and hinder us. We are working with our elected officials in Lansing and D.C. and they are all doing their best to help us with this issue.
The current ‘tentative’ completion date for the approved build-out area is August 2, 2019. That can always ‘slip’ or come in early. Only when the build is completed can anyone order the service, so please don’t phone Frontier now and just wait until we announce it to everyone once the phone lines are open to orders. Installers and people on the 800 lines for Frontier can’t tell you anything or take your orders until their management gives them the go ahead. Please just wait until we can let you know for sure that the systems are up and they are ready. This will keep misinformation about the install to a minimum. If you can keep your current provider until then that will save you any fees for early cancellation!
Q. What speeds can we expect from Frontier?
A. In the primary build area, the minimum speeds will be 10 Mbps Download and 1 Mbps Upload. BUT many people closer to the nodes will get much higher Download speeds. Until the build is complete NO ONE can tell exactly what the speeds will be. Houses that are NOT in the build area funded by the FCC, but who have Frontier phone service available (even if you don’t currently use it) may well have service although it likely will be slower than the 10/1 mandated by the FCC. Again, we will not have any firm idea of the exact speed for any area or any particular home until the build is completed.
Q. What are the areas that will be covered by the build?
A. We are working to get maps that detail the official build area and will post them here when they are available. But the main fiber optic cable will be brought to the Birch Hill area and then distributed to the existing ‘nodes’ that service the current copper phone lines. This is NOT ‘fiber to the home’, but brings fiber optic to the nodes and distributes it via the copper lines that are used for current landline service.
The current build will cover approximately 2/3’s of the Association homes with the minimum 10/1 speeds. Areas near North Bay and the Lighthouses are currently outside that area. We are working to get grant money to cover those areas at the 10/1 speeds and we will keep you posted. BUT those areas will likely get slower speeds at the very least. We just can’t give you an idea of what that will be right now. We ARE working to get additional funding for those areas. THIS is not a Frontier issue, it is a problem with the official FCC maps that show that area as ‘serviced’ by SpeedConnect. We are working to correct that issue, but it is NOT easy due to FCC rules. They won’t fund builds in areas that are shown as being currently served. We are trying a workaround with State of Michigan funding but that is not close at the moment.
Q. Will there be a fee for connection, data usage, or a fixed term contract with Frontier?
A. No there will not be an installation fee and no fixed term contract. You can even turn the service OFF if you wish on a monthly basis if you are away. Frontier provides an always-on service that has no data limits. So there is no reason NOT to sign up for their service when it goes live. The reliability of fiber to the node is not subject to interruption by weather issues either.
Q. What will the costs be?
A. It will depend on the speeds that you sign up for, but it will be a fraction of what you are paying for Speedconnect or Satellite Internet now.
Q. When and how will you let us know when we can sign up?
A. Notices will be on all community billboards AND the PIHA Clubhouse! We will also have all the information on this site. And if you are signed up for our email list you will get all the announcements in your Inbox. Once we get closer we will also schedule times to meet with you at the Clubhouse.
The plan is back to the original one presented to us. They ARE working internally on what they can do to expand the service, but nothing is firm yet. Best guess is that some of North Bay could be juiced since they are currently not included fully, but that is just a guess right now. They are working on the technical side now. BUT, the original plan at the very least will bring Fiber to the Node to a big chunk of PIHA. Speeds will be at least 10 Mbps Download, and 1 Mbps Upload, BUT many will get much better speeds if they are closer to the nodes. Our efforts will not be abating in any case! We will continue to look for options and to support Frontier efforts to get more funding from the State and Federal sources.
Frontier will be meeting with the committee in PI in two weeks. They will then bring maps and final details of what they can do for us now and hopefully some additional thoughts. When that happens we will have the final maps and know more of the details. The delay is to find ways to enhance what they can do under the current monies that have been made available.
Working with State broadband folks to expand the grants, and Sue Allor is now on Appropriations, but really looking to the new Governor to take the lead since she has to sign any bill in the end. Both parties are wanting to do ‘something’, but ‘what to do’ is still a challenge. Jack Bergman and Whitmer’s team have BOTH been responsive and supportive of our efforts. We just need to keep the pressure up for a ‘real’ solution. Frankly, neither party has ‘delivered’ up to now, but the talk is beginning to be much more specific in the last month so we are hopeful.
As soon as we have specifics AND the Federal Government is again open for business, we will present you with a strategy for lobbying your elected representatives. We will keep you informed!
We will be getting confirmation in writing from Frontier on what they are planning to do this year for our area in the next ten days. We hope there will be maps and service level estimates (guarantees?). As soon as we have those details they will be posted on the website. Keep checking and I will post on Presque Isle Happenings and do an email when we have the information from Frontier.
We will NOT be stopping. No matter what they do and what areas are covered we will work with Frontier and any others to get higher speeds and broader coverage. We have some ideas and will need your assistance to keep this in front of our elected representatives. For now, we need to wait until we have the details in hand and develop a real strategy.
High-Speed Internet Update!
Frontier will be providing us with final plans for the Spring 2019 buildout in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, some areas of PI Township and Krakow Township will be left out of the plans and others may not get full Internet speeds. There are many reasons for this, but existing providers are claiming that they are servicing the area when clearly they are not. The funding for these buildouts in rural areas comes almost exclusively from FCC funds. Their ‘maps’ show areas already receiving High-Speed Internet, and they are highly INACCURATE because existing providers ‘exaggerate’ (LIE) about their coverage and the speeds that they provide. It happens all over the country by the way, not just in our area.
We are in contact with our elected representatives, both State and Federal. We are beginning to be heard, but we will need your help soon to push us over the top. I want to caution you that when elected officials, of both parties, say the Farm Bill on the Federal level or some State Bill will provide the money they are sadly WRONG! If you read the bills they are full of delaying tactics and limitations that make real funding to rural areas almost impossible. We are working to make our elected officials aware of these limitations, and there is true bipartisan support for making changes, but IF we are all to get high-speed Internet we still have a ways to go.
We are pleased that Frontier will be bringing fiber to our area, even if it is at a limited speed, and we are working with them to get additional funding that will bring much higher speeds and expand the system to reach everyone in our area regardless of which Township they may live in.
We will get back to you with an action plan as soon as we get all the information from Frontier. And yes, we are exploring relationships with other providers also in areas where Frontier does not currently have existing services. We will need your help to lobby our elected officials so we can move our community into the 21st Century of connected services.
The long effort to bring High-Speed Internet is progressing well at this point and getting much closer to providing a real solution for our area. Hopefully, we will have a solution in place by next summer. The discussion is revolving around getting a ‘minimum’ of 25 Mbps download speed and at least 5 Mbps upload speed. We believe that we now have the ‘floor’ set at those speeds as the minimum for all of PIHA. We are not done as of yet, and we have meetings with Frontier coming in a few weeks and are still exploring alternatives with other potential sources.
What we all really want is truly high speeds available to residential and business customers that far exceed what any others are offering in the area. Although we have high hopes of boosting the speeds substantially nothing is ‘official’ at the moment.
Keep your eye on this site, and we will keep you up to date with any firm news in the future. A lot of parties are working hard with us in the effort, and your calls to politicians have been bearing fruit in terms of making our efforts visible in Lansing and Washington. Thanks to all of you who have supported this effort.