SANDUSKY–Highline Internet celebrated the completion of fiber optic internet service to homes in Michigan’s Thumb region with a reception Thursday in Sandusky.
The program was financed in part by the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program, a $20.4 billion effort of the Federal Communications Commission to bring high speed fixed broadband service to rural homes and small businesses that lack it.
Highline hosted the milestone event with the community and several honored guests from the White House, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters’ office, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office.
Highline now offers gigabit fiber internet service to over 8,000 homes in Sanilac, Tuscola, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.
“Highline’s state-of-the-art 823-mile fiber optic network was built with a combination of private investment backed by ITC Capital Partners and the FCC’s RDOF grant program,” said Bruce Moore, president and general manager of Highline Midwest. “While representing fourteen percent of Highline’s total RDOF location commitment, Highline was able to complete this geographic portion of the network in two years rather than by the end of 2027.”
RDOF funds were allocated through a competitive auction process. Internet service providers bid to receive funding to deploy broadband infrastructure in eligible areas. The milestone event included remarks by Will McIntee, senior advisor of public engagement at the White House; Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA; Jennifer Swift, regional director for Sen. Peters; Jessica Randall, representing MiHi; and Cam Lanier, Chairman of the Board of ITC Capital Partners.
During the celebratory event, Highline completed a fiber internet connection to a nearby customer, a teacher now able to move back home now that there is a real internet connection.
“Seeing firsthand. how this connection provides opportunity at home in our rural communities was incredible,” McIntee said. “That is why President Biden believes so strongly in delivering reliable and affordable high-speed internet for all, and projects like this are an example of that.”
Swift presented a senatorial congratulation certificate from Sen. Peters. Jessica Randall shared congratulatory remarks for Michigan’s broadband office, MiHi. Shirley Bloomfield of NTCA presented a Smart Rural Community Award to the Argyl Township.
Highline Internet is a subsidiary of ITC Broadband Holdings, which got its start in 1896 as Interstate Telephone Co., and which has built, owned, and operated fiber networks for more than 27 years. Highline currently serves the communication and internet needs of residents and businesses in Michigan, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas. Highline is building 10-per-second networks to tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the country that are currently unserved, underserved and unhappily served.