Southfield, Michigan, January 5, 2024 – Ottawa County, Michigan’s seventh largest county by population, and 123NET, a premier fiber internet, colocation and voice services provider, have entered into an agreement to construct 380 miles of additional fiber in the County to bring high performance internet access to approximately 4,000 underserved residents.
Ottawa County’s Board of Commissioners and 123NET finalized the public private partnership on Dec. 21, 2023. Funding for the roughly $25 million project is slated to come from a variety of sources including $14 million in ROBIN Grant Funding, $7.5 million from Ottawa County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds and $3.5 million from 123NET.
“We’re at an interesting time in broadband deployment as there are a number of unique funding programs that counties and municipalities can access,” said Chuck Irvin, Executive Vice President of 123NET. “Ottawa County leadership understands that fast, reliable internet is essential for all of its businesses and residents and has done a great job accessing these available funds for a county-wide rollout to bring high-speed fiber internet to all underserved and unserved residents. 123NET is proud to be part of this exciting project.”
123NET’s Ottawa County fiber installation will further connect to its existing Michigan network that spans 4,000 miles and connects to multiple data centers and peering exchanges like the Detroit Internet Exchange and Grand Rapids Internet Exchange. As a result, Ottawa residents can expect internet speeds of up to 6 gigabits per second, which is 100 times faster than other providers. Additionally, the network will be both open access and carrier-neutral, allowing other network providers to access the fiber, giving residents the ability to choose their preferred internet provider.
“Broadband infrastructure is important for supporting agriculture, business and education across Ottawa County. This open access expansion increases competition countywide and connects rural areas. This deal leverages ARPA funds into a long-term solution to make Ottawa County a great place to work and raise a family,” said Joe Moss, Chair of the Board of Commissioners.
123NET has started a similar project in neighboring Allegan County. “Working with two adjacent counties will bring project and construction efficiencies for both parties and make this particular region of West Michigan one of the best connected in the state,” Irvin said. “We are honored to serve as stewards for a portion of the ROBIN Grant Program’s funds, aimed at improving broadband access in Ottawa and Allegan Counties. We are also actively exploring public-private partnerships with additional counties in preparation for the release of the upcoming BEAD grant program next year. If your local community is interested in partnering, please reach out to 123NET.”
Ottawa County fiber installation will be completed in sections over the next few years. 123NET plans to use both internal and local resources for the project – including West Michigan contractors and 123NET’s ten in-house construction crews.