Great Lakes Energy embarked on a fiber-to-the-home internet project for its members with approval in late 2017 for a pilot installation in our Petoskey service area.
Here are answers to basic questions about the project:
Q: What is fiber-to-the-home internet service?
A: Fiber-to-the-home, or FTTH, refers to a technology that can be used to provide communications and entertainment services to your home or business. Fiber allows members to access state-of-the-art voice, data, and video services over fiber optic cable, which is as thin as a human hair.
The greatest benefit of fiber-to-the-home internet service is the amount of information and services that can be provided over a single connection. Additionally, the service offers unsurpassed speed and reliable, clear connections.
Q: Why is Great Lakes Energy offering fiber-to-the-home?
A: This project is a pilot that will help us determine the feasibility of offering the service throughout our service area. The two main reasons we are starting this pilot are:
- Access to a fiber data system will help our engineers and operations teams monitor and maintain our electric system more accurately, respond to outages faster, and plan for system upgrades in an effective manner.
- Our members have told us there is a need for better internet in our service area to improve the quality of life. Many people in rural Michigan don’t have access to a dependable, fast internet connection which can impact the ability to do basic things on the internet as well as work from home, stream video/audio, expand businesses and more. We strive to offer reliable energy, comfort and communications solutions to enhance our members’ quality of life. Access to high-speed (true broadband) internet is a solution that builds on our past successes in delivering reliable electricity with outstanding service to our members.
Q: When will fiber internet service be available to serve my home or business?
A: Members in the Petoskey service district will be the first to receive service through the pilot project. We expect they could begin subscribing to fiber internet service as early as the end of 2018. We anticipate beginning construction in the summer of 2018 with construction work taking a few years. Construction will involve stringing fiber optic cable to our poles.
Q: When will fiber internet service be available to GLE members outside the Petoskey district?
A: After the pilot project in the Petoskey district is well underway, which may take a few years, we will analyze the entire process to guide us in determining the feasibility of expanding the service to other regions within our service area. We will keep members updated as the project progresses.
Q: When will members be able to sign up for service?
A: We will notify members when we are ready to offer service in their area.
Q: How can we get updates on when service will be available in our area?
Q: Will fiber-to-the-home affect my electric bill?
A: Our plan is for this project to have no negative impact on your bills, rates, or electric service.
Q: What if a person who’s not a member of the co-op wants service?
A: Our goal is to make the fiber-to-the-home service available to all our members first. If there is demand from homes and communities around our service area once we’ve met that goal, we will consider non-member requests on an individual basis.
Q: What are the costs and speeds of the service?
A: We will share the details of the packages when they become available.
Q: Why was the Petoskey service district selected for the pilot project?
A: By examining the characteristics of the Petoskey service district, we believe this area should give us a clear understanding of the challenges, costs and benefits involved with this project. It contains a diverse membership with both permanent and seasonal residents, and different types of terrain that would be encountered in the fiber optic cable installation. Members also have access to a wide selection of competing internet service providers, giving us a more realistic idea of potential number of members who would take fiber internet service from GLE.