The meeting on Wednesday was a FULL HOUSE STANDING ROOM ONLY EVENT! Thanks to everyone who attended and to the Frontier representatives who gave us an interesting and hopeful presentation. Some of the highlights were:
- Frontier currently has a build out in the planning stages for early next year. Completion dates are hard to project for all areas but most should be completed by this time next year.
- Almost all of PIHA will be included in the build out.
- Most, if not all, will be getting 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. MANY will be getting much stronger service. The factors affecting the faster downloads, up to 100 Mbps is the distance from the boxes the fiber is run to. They will be using existing boxes, BUT are currently looking for additional funds to install two new boxes to run fiber to. This will allow them to up speeds to many and reach some additional areas. The State of Michigan and the FCC will be likely sources of this funding.
- There is a possibility that some under served areas outside the initial build out could be served by installing wireless units at strategic points.
- It is hoped that final approval by Frontier management as well as additional funding could be settled sometime this fall.
- Higher speed service and commercial services will be available!
WHAT WE NEED TO DO:
- Contact your State and Federal elected officials. This is NOT a Township or County issue, it is a State and Federal one. On each of your phone bills for landlines or cellphones you have paid a fee for decades. Michigan has been 40th in getting that money returned and only THIS YEAR did we get any substantial funding. The State has recently set up a mechanism for funding and they have been helpful in getting us moved up the list. Check out our blog post for information on how to email your representative. It should be said that many or our reps have been working hard for us already, but we need to keep our project in front on them in this election year. CLICK HERE
- Frontier needs to know WHO is interested and WHERE they are! We need your sign up information. Name, Address, Phone, and Email. You can send that to us via the CONTACT page on our site. CLICK HERE
- We will be contacting you after you sign up with additional information telling you more about the proposed service. We will need to know what type of service you will need, especially if you are working from home or have a commercial business in the served area.
- There will be a need to keep up communications so please share your contact information, AND Subscribe to our email list so you get prompt updates wherever you are. CLICK HERE
One more thing! Chuck Austin and Kim Dobson have been working this project for over two and a half years! If you know Chuck and Kim give them some thanks for all they have done to make this happen. Larry Fields, the Presque Isle Township Supervisor has also been lobbying our elected representatives, for the first time by the way, and deserves notice for his work in setting up the Township Meeting and supporting the effort so faithfully!
There is a special PRESQUE ISLE TOWNSHIP meeting to discuss Frontier’s plans for expanding their services in our area on August 22nd. There will be Frontier people in attendance, and representatives from PIHA and other interested groups.
We need to have as big a crowd as we can muster so we remain ‘first on the list’ for a build out early next year! Please pass the word and ask your neighbors to come!
The meeting starts at 7:00PM at the Township Hall, so please be on time!
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):
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
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!