Last week we sent out a very pessimistic report on the status of fiber optic internet for Watersmeet Township. We had not received any updates from Highline in quite some time and we anticipated the worst.
Well, all that changed on Friday, September 16, 2022.
On Friday, the Watersmeet Broadband Task Force had a virtual meeting with Bruce Moore, Highline CEO. Bruce let us know right away that Watersmeet is DEFINITELY getting Fiber Optic Broadband in 2023!! The crews will begin laying the fiber optic in the ground in June 2023. They expect to have the first of three rounds laid by August 2023.
Currently, 40% of Watersmeet households (347 homes) paid the $25 deposit and signed up for Highline. One of the main reasons we are getting fiber optic before the rest of the western UP is because of the high percentage of households that already signed up!
What Does this Mean?
Fiber optic internet is considered the gold standard of internet. It is very reliable, fast and not affected by weather. Here are some of the specifics:
- Speeds to be up to 1 gigabyte per second download and up to 500 megabytes per second upload
- No data caps
- Set-up fee of approximately $99
- Service pricing to be around $99/month which includes a modem/router
- $29/month additional for a digital phone line may also be available
What Can You Do to help?
Improving internet service to all of Watersmeet has been an important issue for many years. It is vital to our economic growth. Highline and the Watersmeet Task Force is asking every Michigan property owner to go to the HighlineFast web page, click on “Sign Up” and enter your property address. If your address does not appear in the drop-down list, it may help to leave off the leading letter in your address. For example: 3928 instead of N3928. (If it still does not appear, select an address closest to you and you can correct the information when Highline contacts you). By entering your address, you are letting Highline know you are interested in their service. It is not a commitment to subscribe to their service. You do not need to enter any credit card information.
After signing up, you may be contacted by Highline to confirm your address and/or to request a $25 deposit (which will be deducted from the $99 set-up fee) to confirm your commitment in installing internet service. This deposit assures service and may also prioritize installation. Installation fees this low are likely predicated on scheduling the installation crew and fiber optic runs to the homes for these advanced service commitments for the initial service offering. It is expensive to deploy/bury fiber optic cable, installation costs would likely increase once crews leave our area. Highline has an aggressive deployment schedule across the UP.
*It is possible that not ALL residences/businesses in the Watersmeet Township are included in the RDOF auction results area. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT for all residents to sign up on the Highline web site. Highline has indicated that if enough residents in these areas sign-up for interest they may be able to include service to these “edge areas” during the initial installation phase. The only way they will know that you are interested is for you to SIGN UP!
If you live on a private road – an easement will likely be necessary. This is a legal document that gives Highline permission to lay the fiber underground on your private road. This will be similar to the utility easements already on file for your property. Please look out for any mailers concerning these easements.
More Info to Follow
In the next few weeks, we should be able to share with all of you the listing of Township roads for each wave of fiber optic installation!
We will be updating the Township website regularly with progress reports and news concerning Highline. Please spread the word to your neighbors to sign up for the Township updates to be sure to hear all the latest fiber optic news!
As the situation develops with Highline, your Task Force will post updates as appropriate. Should you have any questions, please contact Trustee Yvonne Clark at email@example.com.
Watersmeet Broadband Task Force
Yvonne Clark, Trustee