Southfield, Michigan, January 16, 2022 – The Allegan County Board of Commissioners and 123NET, Michigan’s premier fiber internet, colocation, and voice services provider, have finalized the deal for the county’s $70.9 million fiber internet project. After reviewing 11 bids from both national and regional telecom companies in late November, Allegan had chosen 123NET to build approximately 1,000 miles of high-capacity fiber throughout the county to connect over 12,000 homes.
“123NET is a foundational provider of Michigan Broadband infrastructure,” said the county’s Broadband Project Manager, Jill Dunham. “From their reasonable monthly rates to the open access network proposed, they offer a great solution for Allegan County.”
123NET plans to deliver fiber internet with speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, 100 times faster than the county’s original specification. Currently, Allegan County is the 18th largest in the state by land and population as well as being considered the 4th fastest growing by the 2020 census. This project will make Allegan County the best connected in the state and one of the fastest counties in the nation. In addition, the new network will be both open access and carrier-neutral, allowing other network providers to access the fiber to sell their services, giving residents the ability to choose their preferred internet provider.
“Internet access is essential in today’s world. This project shows Allegan County is dedicated to bringing best in class connectivity to its residents,” said Chuck Irvin, Vice President of 123NET. “We are honored to be stewards of the county’s investment in broadband. This open access network will use public land and funding for the benefit of the community. Allegan County has been a front runner in optimizing broadband funding to fully connect the underserved parts of the community.”
Funding for the project is slated to come from a variety of sources including ROBIN grant, American Rescue Plan Act funds and other public and private grants and investors. Construction will be completed in sections over the next two years bringing state-of-the-art fiber connectivity into the rural areas of Allegan County.
Since it’s signing in 2002, the METRO Act allows carriers like 123NET to work with municipalities to access the public right-of-way. 123NET decided that an open access network allows carriers to use those public resources for the benefit of the community. 123NET plans to use both internal and local resources for the project – including West Michigan contractors and 123NET’s ten in-house construction crews.