Great Lakes Energy Planning FTTH Expansion in Rural Michigan

Great Lakes Energy (GLE) is considering expanding their Truestream fiber Internet access and voice service to more rural areas in the northwestern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. In a recent news release, the electric cooperative announced that they began sending engineers to their Boyne service area to collect necessary information for analysis as they explore possible deployment in the area.

Growing One of the Largest

Last summer, we reported on the co-op's pilot project in the Petosky service area and their long-term plans to bring gigabit Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connectivity to their 125,000 members. The cooperative decided to begin with residential service and potentially expand to business subscriber offerings in the future.

Subscribers from the pilot area have reported positive feedback. Brian Bates, who is also the owner of Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petosky, posted speed test results on the Truestream FB page and commented:

“Truestream is more than 400 times faster than speeds we were able to get with our previous Internet provider. And for 75% less money with no contract and unlimited everything!”

By January, approximately 9,000 potential subscribers had registered interest via the Truestream website.

Better Broadband Coming to Boyne

Boyne City is located directly south of the city of Petosky and the GLE Boyne service area includes parts of five counties in the surrounding region. GLE will conduct a second field study this fall if results of the first study are favorable.

“If the findings are positive,” said [Lacey Matthews of GLE Communications and Communications], “Great Lakes Energy may budget for expansion of the fiber network in 2020, pending approval by the Great Lakes Energy Board of Directors in late 2019.”

As other cooperatives have done, GLE is depending on help from members interested in signing up for the service to decide where exactly to deploy FTTH within the Boyne service area. People should express their interest at to help guide GLE in its strategic deployment plans. If GLE can better ensure fiber investment will lead to maximum sign-ups, their incremental approach will have better results.

Internet service from Truestream is available at three speed tiers:

  • 100 Mbps symmetrical for $59.99/month
  • 200 Mbps symmetrical for $69.99/month
  • 1 Gbps symmetrical for $99.99/month

Subscription fees include a Wi-Fi router. Telephone services costs $34.99 per month; more details are available at the Truestream website.

For more on the project and the cooperative, listen to Christopher interview Shari Culver from GLE for episode 324 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. They discussed the decision to pursue the project and their incremental approach.