Traverse City Commission to Vote on $18.2 Million Dollar Plan for Improved Internet Service

On Monday night, Traverse City, commissioners will decide whether to go along with Traverse City Light and Power’s (TCLP) plan to improve high speed internet service in the city.

TCLP wants to expand their high speed network to ensure that all their customers have fast, reliable internet service.

“The discussion of providing fiber has gone back four or five years now, in regards to upgrading what is available to us,” says Traverse City Manager, Martin Colburn.

They’re asking the city to authorize up to $18.2 million in loans from the USDA to expand their network and make improvements to the fiber system.

“You’re building a couple core networks for the access layer and then you’re actually building out to the individual houses, so we’re running wire and that’s the intent, to nearly every house in Traverse City, so that costs a significant amount,” says TCLP Chief Information Technology Officer Scott Menhart.

Many depend on that reliable service every day, just to do their job.

“I think it’s more pertinent today in regards to COVID, as more people move in and are working from home, that we need a higher level of service,” says Colburn.

Since costs will be covered by a loan, taxpayers don’t have to worry about paying more.

Those who use this service pay a fee.

“We’re branding it, as it’s your community network, so really, it’s the ratepayers and the community and the citizens of Traverse City that are going to really benefit on both sides of this coin,” says Menhart.

Their hope is to have the entire city hooked up to the network within two years.

The city commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center.