Greetings fellow Township residents. We are another step closer to high-speed internet! Spectrum’s ROBIN Grant application for its Cheboygan County projects has been officially APPROVED for funding. The MIHI Broadband Map below shows the areas slated for broadband construction within Burt Township.
While we should know more about the installation timeline in the coming months, what is known is that Spectrum has until Dec 2026 to complete the ROBIN funded projects. The good news is that Spectrum has completed and activated services well ahead of deadlines in the past, so hopefully that continues to hold true.
We will continue to monitor progress and keep you informed as we learn more. This is extremely good news for our residents and the future of our cyber infrastructure.
Spectrum has preliminarily received Robin Grant approval/awards for several projects including Cheboygan County and Burt Township (including the East Side as seen in the preliminary awarded addresses and map links!). See below from Joan Movrich. Hopefully everything gets final approval in the next few weeks and we all will be another step closer to high-speed internet! Out of 154 ROBIN Broadband Grant applications submitted by 40 unique applicants, 24 projects submitted by 11 applicants (including Charter Communications, dba Spectrum) were selected for the initial grant recommendations and would connect nearly 106,000 homes, businesses and institutions throughout the state to high-speed internet access. More than $311 million of matching funds have also been committed by the 11 applicants to support the 24 projects which total $578 million.
This is not a final award, however – but still good news. Next Steps – MIHI’s announcement opened a 45-day review and challenge / comment window which closed in early August ~ we expect the MIHI office to make their final awards in the coming weeks. In the interim, below are several images and links that may be helpful:
The Brutus Rd./W. Burt Lake Rd. Spectrum fiber project is “still a go” but now delayed as Spectrum is adding an additional project to the build. This means the build path and plan will need to be redone by Spectrum. In short, the project has been moved to 2024 as the additional scoping and permitting will not allow for enough time before winter. We understand the delay is disappointing news, but the good news is that broadband is coming. Since RACC went out of business in December, residents have had to scurry for service, mostly with HughesNet and lately with Starlink. PIEG has been installing high speed fiber for their customers on the east side of the township. The township board is working with TAG Tower/Verizon to erect a tower on the west side of the township with 5G service.
The Spectrum broadband project for the Township’s west side is still happening but has been delayed. Supply chain issues, waiting for permits, along with recent changes to the project have pushed things out to later this year. The good news is that the project which was scheduled to be a hybrid cable/fiber line has been changed to 100% fiber. This will make the easement application process much more efficient and will allow for additional residences to receive service. This will also allow for faster speeds in the future since fiber has much higher capacity and lower latency than any other deployable consumer connection. The project looks like it will partially qualify for some federal funding so that makes it especially attractive to Spectrum from a business perspective. The Construction Coordinator indicated that Spectrum would work through the winter when it comes to installation as necessary.
The east side is being studied for a similar project but that is still at least a year away. The Township will continue to monitor progress and provide updates as more information becomes available. Thanks to everyone for their continued patience while Spectrum continues to prepare for this project.
Spectrum will be connecting broadband to the west side of the Township. The plan is to begin the install in early May 2022. The proposed project will bring cable down Brutus Rd. from US 31 and service from Maple Bay State Park (i.e. Chickagami, Indian Point) all the way up the western lake shore to the last residence on W. Burt Lake Rd. The project manager estimates that residents in the project zone should have service by the end of the summer. The hybrid cable/fiber will include ALL Spectrum services including TV (if residents choose to add that service). Spectrum will be sending a mailer in the weeks ahead to let people know more details.
There are a couple of projects also being studied on the east side and those plans are TBD. The project manager indicated he is under a lot of pressure to get the western segment completed first. I will continue to inquire as to what the east side plans ultimately are. This is a positive first step in getting high speed service for all of our residents. -Allen Kozlowski
There has been no word from Spectrum on a potential broadband project on the west side of the township. It can be presumed that this build was not approved Spectrum corporate. The reason for the rebuff to the original proposal could be attributed what’s happening with CenturyLink and the existing DSL lines on the west side.
Michigan is on the list of CenturyLink’s existing copper/DSL infrastructure being sold off to private equity firm Apollo Global Management. This should happen later in 2022. Where and when Apollo decides to add fiberoptic upgrades is TBD. More should be known once the sale is complete, but the good news is that Apollo will be focusing on rural communities that have been denied fiber to this point (Like Burt Township). Link to article
The upstart satellite service remains a current viable option for township residents. Speeds are impressive but with a high initial $500 equipment cost and monthly service cost of $100. Order StarLink
A letter was sent to the CEO asking about potential plans to expand broadband coverage and letting him know that a larger part of the Township would be interested in being part of their network in the future if the interest is mutual. Jeff Lawson and Sue Buitenhuis from Cheboygan county were CC’d.