Better internet coming to Beaver Island

This brand story began as a press brief and, with the addition of quotes and some serious reworking, business story was born.

The construction which began in January and is expected to be complete in early 2018 will expand and improve high-speed internet to 671 locations on Beaver Island.

According to TDS Telecom, the Madison, Wisc. company doing the work, the FCC allocated $3.3 million to improve voice and broadband service for rural areas of Michigan.

“Depending on location, most TDS customers in eligible rural areas will receive guaranteed broadband speeds of 25Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload,” TDS stated in a news release last week. “Under the agreement with the FCC, the remaining customers will receive broadband service at lower speeds of 10/1 and 4/1Mbps.”

Beaver Island, which has roughly 650 year-round residents, balloons up to 2,000 to 3,000 people in the summer.

“We look forward to improved broadband internet service because Beaver is a small market and there’s been a tendency for us to lag,” said Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve West. “In the summer, when there are many many visitors and seasonal residents, there seems to be more demand and the (internet) service is slower.”
Michigan residents can visit the to find out how this federal program may impact their location.

“We are excited to start work on this project to move faster connections to customers in Beaver Island,” said Jean Pauk, manager of State Government Affairs at TDS.

According to the release, back in January, TDS announced it elected to receive nearly $75.1 million a year to increase broadband access in 25 states from the FCC’s A-CAM, under the Connect America Fund program.

And, TDS will leverage the funds over the next decade to support creation of rural broadband networks to nearly 160,000 locations.

“One of the things that we’re looking at here on Beaver Island is our growth and the future and how to recruit young families to live and work here because it’s primarily a tourist destination,” said West. “The ideal family is one who can work from home on the internet … and strong internet service can be helpful in that regard.”

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