Fast Times in Traverse City

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With its recent decision to expand, Traverse City, Michigan hopes faster fiber optic network internet speeds are on their way. The Traverse City Light and Power Board has been negotiating with Fujitsu Network Communications, reports Community Networks, and is poised to launch the first phase of the project.

The initial activity is likely to reach approximately 400 residences, and 380 businesses.  

Although the project is not popular in all quarters, County Commissioner Amy Shamroe has stated that, “Most feedback she hears isn’t from people opposing the project but from locals asking what’s taking so long.”   

For the past ten years, Traverse City has operated its own WiFi services in the downtown area. However, as community needs have grown, the municipality sought outside help and brought Fujitsu on board to develop a business plan for their digital future. Fujitsu conducted a feasibility study and determined that an incremental approach would get things moving in the most cost effective way.  Anthony Bednarczyk, speaking for Fujitsu, called the decision “financially sound and operationally sustainable.”

According to Fujitsu, phase one can be completed within the first year. Funding will come from a $4 million interdepartmental loan from Traverse City’s electric utility to their fiber optic fund. Traverse City Light & Power estimates that the project will break even in approximately five years, if subscribers account for an internet access take rate of at least 40 percent. Projections also include a VoIP participation rate of 28 percent.   

May 28, 2019

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