After receiving $2.6 million in public money, a Michigan entrepreneur who started an ISP (internet service provider) after becoming dissatisfied with the local internet service providers in his small rural town is now expanding his business. Rural Americans frequently lack access to high-speed broadband internet, so they must make do with either slow DSL connections or erratic satellite internet. Residents are frequently left with limited options because existing ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon do not install optical fibre networks in these locations because the cost of doing so could be prohibitive given the low population density.
Additionally, some regions have scant to no cellular coverage, therefore 4G or 5G connections cannot compensate for the absence of wired broadband connectivity. Lack of competition may also lead to outrageous prices and little incentive for ISPs to upgrade their networks with the newest technology and provide dependable internet at respectable speeds.
Network architect Jared Mauch reportedly had the idea to launch his own ISP after becoming dissatisfied with the quality of internet connection in his remote Michigan township of Scio. Comcast offered to deploy its broadband service to the area but quoted a hefty $50,000 to extend its cable network to his township while AT&T offered a dated 1.5Mbps connection in the area. Dissatisfied with the scenario, Mauch decided to start his own internet service provider (ISP), which would not only provide high-speed internet to his home at a reasonable price but also provide high-speed broadband to individuals in his area. Washtenaw Fiber Properties LLC, Mauch’s business, provides up to Gigabit FTTH internet to about 70 households at affordable rates. Mauch has obtained funds from the government to offer services to several hundred additional families in the area.
High-Speed Broadband In Rural America
The Washtenaw County in Mauch’s hometown gave the firm the funds after it received $71 million from the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Currently, the new ISP has around 14 miles of fibre and about 70 clients, but the government funds will assist expand the network by an additional 38 miles, opening up his service to many more potential clients. According to the official Washtenaw Fiber Properties website, the ISP costs $65 per month for internet service at 100 Mbps and $139 per month for service at gigabit speeds. None of the plans contain commitments, data limits, or overage charges.
Mauch is legally required to extend his high-speed fibre network to 417 properties in the area as part of the public funding, and the entire project must be finished by the end of 2026. Mauch plans to complete around half the project this year and then complete the remaining portion of his contract by the following year. In addition, Mauch’s plan will extend the reach of his internet network to 596 properties, far more than his government contract demands.
Aryan Jakhar works as an Editor-in-Chief at The Shining Media. Also, he is an editor at YouthPolitician (digital media situated in Taiwan). He writes his opinions on social issues at YouthKiAwaaz and also on his blogger website.