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.
Just heard from Bob Stewart of Frontier and there is a bill (House Bill 5670
) that is part of a legislative effort by the Governor, late in his term, as a priority. This bill will create funding for rural Internet service. We need to support this bill since it requires that a MINIMUM of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload be reached to get the funding. THIS WOULD BE VERY POSITIVE FOR PRESQUE ISLE and for the underserved areas of our community.
Frontier will be testifying on Tuesday in SUPPORT of this bill!. AT&T does not plan to be there, but Charter and Comcast will likely oppose the bill since they don’t want to have a stated minimum speed requirement. Bob will get back to me if he believes some of us should be present since he plans to use Presque Isle as ‘poster child’ for why this bill needs to pass. I told him I would happily make that trip. Bob has also spoken to Larry Fields, Presque Isle Township Supervisor, and he is willing to show up also to testify.
I am going to use Social Media, the website, and email everyone I know of to call their State Representative, AND Mary Whitford, District 80 Representative, and sponsor of the Bill. Here is here contact information:
Also, Sue Allor, our local Representative will be supportive and we need to contact her also and ask her to strongly support this bill:
Please call or email both of the reps above, AND if you live or vote downstate your local rep also. This bill could go a long way to get underserved parts of rural communities such as ours truly high-speed Internet.
The support for this project has been fantastic, but this could really result in further expansion in our area AND provide support for other underserved areas as well. This is the first time that Frontier has come out in support of ‘minimum’ speed requirements, and so we want to support them in their efforts regarding House Bill 5670!
Folks, we have gathered a strong response from many of you about your interest in getting true High-Speed Internet in Presque Isle. We have you on our list, but now we need your help.
Here is what we are asking you to do NOW:
- Please FORWARD this link to your neighbors. TELL THEM WE NEED THEM TO EXPRESS INTEREST BY FILLING OUT THE CONTACT FORM. This needs to be done by the 25th of this month so we can forward a map that gives Frontier a geographic location of potential customers for their service. Please do this today and help us translate your ‘interest’ into a real service you can subscribe to! We want them to build a system that REALLY serves your needs.
- PHONE YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES! I don’t think anyone has missed the fact that this is an election year. Phone your reps TODAY and keep it simple and very direct. This is what you need to communicate.
- That you live in Presque Isle with little or no access to the Internet, and extremely weak cell service.
- Tell them that Frontier Communications is considering a buildout in PRESQUE ISLE using State and Federal funds.
- Ask them to contact Frontier to urge them to follow through on this project.
- TELL THEM you want a RESPONSE from them on what they have done, and that this is an issue that will influence your VOTE!
- Don’t threaten, don’t include any other issues. Keep the focus of this contact on the Frontier Internet buildout.
- Use their contact forms on their site. Snail mail is not very effective, and they are out campaigning most of the time anyway.
WHO TO CALL (click the link for email and phone information):
*Jack Bergman, First Congressional District
*Sue Allor, 106th District, Michigan House of Representatives
*Jim Stamas, 36th District, Michigan Senate
*Debbie Stabenow, Senator, Michigan
Gary Peters, Senator, Michigan
* Indicates politicians who have been VERY receptive to helping us already! But call and email anyway!!! If one of them calls Frontier it counts for a hundred of us!
We will be adding to the site in the coming days with more information on what has been happening, but NOW we need your help!