There is agreement among many Dexter public officials and residents that a significant portion of the township is not served by reliable, affordable broadband.
“A number of areas are under-served in the township and there are some unserved areas,” said Supervisor Harley Rider, at the Dexter Township Board’s August 18 meeting.
The board approved 7-0 Resolution 15-444 to support Broadband service throughout Dexter Township.
A group of concerned citizens and officials called the Western Washtenaw County Broadband Initiative has been meeting to strategize ways to bring broadband service to rural parts of the communities that are unserved or under-served by commercial carriers.
he grassroots initiative is called Pure Broadband, and it has an application for a startup and feasibility grant that would focus on the northwest part of Washtenaw County.
Pure Broadband was officially incorporated in March of 2015. The founders were brought together through community broadband meetings at the Sylvan Township Hall hosted by Connect Michigan, in collaboration with Rep. Gretchen Driskell and organized by Melanie Bell of the Chelsea Library.
“Through these conversations, the founders came to the conclusion that no commercial service providers would be bringing high speed broadband to the area anytime soon, and it was up to area residents to help themselves,” Pure Broadband founder and spokesperson Ben Fineman. “Pure Broadband was founded to act as a vehicle to enable this effort – to focus community support, aggregate funding, and build physical infrastructure.”
The current area of focus for Pure Broadband includes the following townships in Western Washtenaw and Eastern Jackson counties: Bridgewater, Dexter, Freedom, Grass Lake, Lima, Lyndon, Manchester, Sharon, Sylvan, Waterloo, and Webster.
The group currently has active community efforts in Lyndon, Sylvan, Waterloo, and Webster Townships and is seeking neighborhood leads for the remaining townships and any other surrounding areas that may be interested in participating.
The initiative requires no expenditure of funds nor does it commit Dexter Township to change any ordinances or provide any infrastructure. What it does require Dexter Township to do is to create an environment that is conducive to the development and implementation of broadband as well as to support Pure Broadband in its mission to bring affordable high-speed broadband to the township.
Pure Broadband is a community effort driven by citizens of both rural Washtenaw and Jackson Counties with a mission to deliver broadband to the region. The goal is to provide an abundance of bandwidth on reliable networks at a reasonable price.
The group states that “While wireless solutions may be necessary in the near term, we will never accept solutions that offer speeds less than 10Mbps or that include a data cap. Our eventual goal is to deliver gigabit service over fiber optic cables to every home in our community.”
To get involved, area residents should visit the purebroadband.org website and sign up to indicate that they need broadband at their location. Signing up has no commitment attached, said Fineman. Pure Broadband is simply attempting to measure demand for high-speed Internet, so the more people who respond from any given subdivision or neighborhood the higher up the list that area will climb as a priority.
For more background information on Pure Broadband, see the below embedded document which contains a briefing on the organization.