The long awaited improvement for improved broadband service for Dexter Township has hit a snag. A bill as been introduced in the Michigan State House of Representatives that could affect the Township’s ability to provide better internet service for area residents.
Township Trustee Mike Compton, who has been leading the search for better internet service, reported at Tuesday night’s meeting that a bill has been introduced in Lansing that, if passed, would prevent local municipalities from providing internet service for its residents.
House Bill No. 5099, introduced by Rep. Michele Hoitenga of the Cadillac area, reads in part;
“… A LOCAL UNIT SHALL NOT USE ANY FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL FUNDS OR LOANS TO PAY FOR THE COST OF PROVIDING QUALIFIED INTERNET SERVICE … A LOCAL UNIT MAY ENTERINTO AN AGREEMENT WITH 1 OR MORE PRIVATE PARTIES TO PROVIDE QUALIFIED INTERNET SERVICE …”
If the bill is passed, “It looks like the Township can’t directly provide internet service,” Compton explained. “We’ll have to find a provider who has adequate service.”
And that’s the challenge. There have been many complaints from area residents of weak signals, intermittent service, and no service at all from a variety of internet providers. It frustrates and complicates working from home or completing some school assignments.
The bill was introduced only a few days ago on the 12th and still has much discussion and amendment to go through before a final draft is presented for a vote. The Township doesn’t want to establish its own internet service only to dismantle it and repeat the entire process.
However, while the Bill is being considered in The House, The Dexter Township Broadband Research Committee will continue to meet and search for options to get better internet service to the area.