Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 4 5 a publicly owned network. e study recommended a wireline fiber optic network. Lyndon had considered fixed wireless solutions, but the township's dense forests and hilly terrain – the very qualities that attracted many residents in the first place – impede wireless signals, making the technology a poor fit. "It would really just be a Band-Aid in terms of [not being] able to scale into the future," Keezer explained, "so for solving the problem in the long term, fiber optic was what we ended up choosing." In a survey the township sent out with property tax bills that summer, 83 percent of respondents who were registered voters said that having high- quality connectivity was "important" or "very important." Lyndon Township proposed paying for network construction by issuing a $7 million general obligation bond, funded by a 2.9 millage increase over 20 years. Essentially, the plan would raise property taxes by approximately $2.91 for every $1,000 of taxable property value. e township estimated an average yearly tax increase of $263 for homeowners. In August 2017, voters approved the bond issuance and millage increase in a ballot initiative, with two-thirds of all voters supporting the bond proposal. Voter turnout was 43 percent, setting the record for a non- general election. ough Lyndon Township will own the fiber network, it will partner with Midwest Energy and Communications (MEC), a nearby cooperative, to offer internet access. MEC currently provides electricity and broadband services in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. As a cooperative, MEC shares a concern for the community with the Lyndon government, and its services will allow the small township to avoid overstretching its capacity. e township board approved prices for the new network in August 2018, setting the monthly rate for symmetrical gigabit speeds at an affordable $69.95 per month. Lyndon residents will also be able to subscribe to 25 Mbps symmetrical for $34.95 per month or 100 Mbps symmetrical for $44.95 per month. Phone service will be available as well. Connection to the network is free for residents before April 30, 2019. Construction work on Lyndon's new fiber network began in late October 2018, and the township anticipates that the main portion of the network will be completed by the end of 2019. Once the network is completed, Lyndon Township will offer proof that even a town with a lower population than some high schools is able to bring affordable, reliable, high-quality connectivity to all its citizens. v Katie Kienbaum is a research associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She can be reached at Lyndon Township Hall. The township's hilly, forested terrain precluded wireless internet as an option for the municipal network. Lyndon Township began putting conduit in the ground in fall 2018.

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