Along the shores of Lake Huron and across three rural counties in Michigan’s Thumb region, an electric cooperative is putting its thumb on the scale in favor of bringing fiber-to-the-home Internet service to its members.
Nearly 85 years after first delivering electricity to the region, Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) General Manager Dallas Braun announced the co-op had “started to lay the groundwork for a similar mission.”
“The mission,” he wrote in a recent edition of Michigan Country Lines, “is to provide much-needed fiber Internet service to those same sparsely populated areas by building a projected $80 million fiber network infrastructure that will be the superhighway of the Internet for future generations.”
The mandate came from members who saw ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet connectivity as a necessity of modern life much like the region’s rural farmers in the 1930s pined for electricity as they saw city residents enjoy a higher standard of electrified living.
It led to the creation of TEC Fiber – a new subsidiary of the TEC which currently serves 12,300 residents and businesses in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola Counties.
Foray into Broadband with an Air Advantage
The planned project, which is expected to be completed over the next five years, will deploy 1,500 miles of aerial fiber attached to TEC’s existing electric poles. That will be connected to another 600 miles of underground fiber, which will allow the co-op to extend service beyond its current footprint thanks to its recent purchase of Air Advantage, a Thumb-area Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Not only does the purchase of Air Advantage allow TEC to integrate and expand the local ISPs existing fiber and wireless network, it also means the co-op will acquire all 30 of Air Advantage’s experienced workforce.
“This is an exciting time for TEC...Read more