With commitment of ARPA funds, match from 123NET, public-private partnership seeks to connect nearly 10,000 Ottawa County households to fiber
WEST OLIVE, MICHIGAN — Ottawa County, Michigan’s fastest-growing county, has selected 123NET, a premier fiber internet, colocation, and voice services provider, to bring broadband internet to the county’s underserved residents and businesses.
Funding for the $27 million project is slated to come from a variety of sources, including $7.5 million of Ottawa County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, $3.5 Million in 123NET’s private capital, and additional state and federal grants. This project is able to move forward thanks to swift action taken by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday, March 14, to approve a letter of intent to move the partnership with 123NET forward. This motion enabled the County and its partner to immediately submit an application to compete for time-sensitive state grant funding.
“In Ottawa County, we are active listeners who heard over and over again that countywide access to reliable, broadband internet was a top priority.”
Ottawa County Department of Strategic
Impact Director Paul Sachs
“In Ottawa County, we are active listeners who heard over and over again that countywide access to reliable, broadband internet was a top priority,” said Paul Sachs, Director of the Ottawa County Department of Strategic Impact. “The monumental action the County Board of Commissioners have taken will provide Ottawa County citizens the high-speed connectivity necessary to succeed now and into the future.”
Many Ottawa County citizens report they do not have access to broadband, available broadband is unreliable, or service is too expensive. The county enlisted the help of Urban Wireless Solutions, a team of broadband experts and advisors, to help guide the project’s planning and execution. Working with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and additional community partners, Ottawa County conducted a Broadband Data Collection Survey in 2021. This survey revealed 10.5% of County households do not have access to fixed (wired or wireless) high-speed internet. Furthermore, 26% of those with fixed broadband access it at speeds slower than the FCC’s minimum broadband threshold.
“High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury item. This public-private partnership will move us closer to ensuring all Ottawa County families and businesses have access to reliable and affordable broadband.”
Ottawa County Commissioner Rebekah Curran
“High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury item,” said Ottawa County Commissioner Rebekah Curran. “This public-private partnership will move us closer to ensuring all Ottawa County families and businesses have access to reliable and affordable broadband.”
The project includes approximately 383 miles of new fiber in the county which will further provide access to nearly 10,000 addresses with approximately 3,300 being unserved and 1,200 underserved. As a result, Ottawa community members can expect internet speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, 100 times faster than traditional AT&T and Comcast speeds. Additionally, the network will be both open access and carrier-neutral, allowing other network providers to access the fiber to sell their services, giving residents and businesses the ability to choose their preferred internet provider.
“Ottawa County was very intentional with its ARPA dollars and understood that high-speed internet would bring huge benefits for community residents of all ages and interests,” said Dan Irvin, Founder and CEO of 123NET. “We look forward to delivering world-class internet to even more Michiganders.”
123NET plans to use both internal and local resources for the project – including West Michigan contractors and 123NET’s 10 in-house construction crews. Applications for federal and state funding for this project have begun, and residents, businesses, and community institutions can follow the project here: www.123.net/ottawa-county
123NET is a privately-owned company headquartered in Southfield, Michigan that specializes in providing high-quality business fiber internet, colocation, and voice services, as well as residential internet. With a focus on reinvesting in Michigan’s infrastructure, 123NET has been partnering with other carriers and communities for more than 25 years to establish the highest capacity fiber network and internet connectivity solutions throughout the state. As a result, the company has become a trusted provider of world-class connectivity to over a dozen Fortune 500 companies and thousands of Michigan businesses, facilitating the connection of businesses, residents, and communities. 123NET also hosts the Detroit Internet Exchange (DET-iX), and runs one of the largest carrier-neutral data centers, where it partners with industry leaders like Google, AWS, and GM.
About Urban Wireless Solutions
Urban Wireless Solutions is a Michigan-based consulting firm specializing in wireless communications and broadband solutions. Its team has over 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and wireless industry. Urban Wireless works public sector and private sector entities on their wireless and communications needs, consulting on matters related to real estate, legal, engineering and government. Learn more at urbanwireless.us
About Ottawa County
Positioned in the southwestern half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Ottawa County is just 150 miles from Chicago and 174 miles from Detroit, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers alike.
While being a popular recreation spot boosts the local economy, Ottawa County’s true economic drivers are manufacturing and agriculture. Ottawa is home to numerous global companies in the automotive and food processing sectors as well as many small entrepreneurial startups in a variety of industries. The County’s agriculture sector is equally as diverse; its more than 1,000 farms include orchards and other fruit growing operations; row crops such as corn and soybeans; dairy, poultry, and pork production; as well as other vegetable farming.
Crops aren’t the only things growing here – between 2010-2020, Ottawa County’s population rose over 12 percent, making it the fastest growing in the state. With strong industry, two highly rated institutions of higher education (Grand Valley State University and Hope College), low unemployment rates, and a high quality of life, Ottawa County is an attractive place to visit, settle, and do business. Tying it all together via broadband connectivity, along with a connected workforce, will make Ottawa County a premium location to live, work and relax.
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