LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Two communications service providers will hook up more Livingston County residents to high-speed fiber-optic broadband internet service.
One of them will expand to underserved rural areas, thanks to a state grant. The other will provide an additional service option for residents of Brighton and Hartland Township, including phone and cable TV services.
Surf Internet, based in Elkhart, Indiana, recently secured $17 million in state grant funding to connect more than 3,600 households and businesses to the provider’s existing high-speed fiber-optic network, which offers 1-gig speed.
The funding has been awarded through the Michigan Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks Program, known as ROBIN.
An interactive online map of ROBIN grant-funded expansions shows where Surf will expand to underserved portions of local townships, including Unadilla, Iosco, Handy, Conway, Cohoctah, Deerfield, Howell and Oceola.
Surf has already extended their fiber optic broadband network in the county, including locations in Fowlerville, Howell, Iosco Township and Cohoctah Township. Surf also acquired the fiber optic network assets of MiSignal, founded in Howell, when the companies joined forces.
MiSignal had already been expanding high-speed fiber optic internet in Howell and portions of Marion Township, Howell Township and Genoa Township.
Construction of more lines is underway just outside the county in Stockbridge, Webberville and Williamston.
“We have long enjoyed working closely with Livingston County and the state of Michigan to help transform the lives of their residents with high-speed internet,” Surf CEO Gene Crusie wrote in a release.
“It’s thrilling to be a part of a group of internet service providers that are collectively going to make huge strides in bridging the digital divide statewide. We are proud to be able to use these funds to connect the most rural, underserved locations in Livingston through continued collaboration.”
WOW coming to Livingston
Colorado-based internet, phone, and cable TV provider WideOpenWest, known as WOW, is expanding in Livingston, Genesee and Oakland counties.
“Construction has just begun and we’re excited to bring WOW’s reliable, state-of-the-art, all-IP fiber network to consumers in Livingston County in the coming months,” Robert DiNardo, vice president of market expansion, wrote in a Thursday, Nov. 16, statement.
The first communities in the county to benefit from the expansion are Brighton and Hartland Township, officials said in September. The provider is also prioritizing nearby communities Milford, Commerce Township and Wixom.
WOW will offer its full suite of services, including internet speeds up to 5 gigabytes-per-second and YouTube TV.
Brighton officials earlier this month approved a 10-year franchise agreement with WOW for internet, phone and cable TV service in the city.
Residents “want choices when it comes to broadband providers,” DiNardo said. “WOW is meeting the rising demand for fast and reliable broadband in these communities.”
Homeowners with questions or concerns about construction work in their neighborhood can contact WOW at 321-233-2236 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, county officials are using federal COVID-19 relief dollars to replace and expand the county’s fiber optic internet “trunk line.”
— Contact reporter Jennifer Eberbach at email@example.com.