By John Raffel
ALLEGAN – Allegan County Board of Commissioner chairman Jim Storey reported during Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting the County and 123.NET signed an agreement to provide wired broadband infrastructure and service to 12,000 unserved addresses.
“The addresses do not have access to download speeds of over 100mb,” Storey said. “The final agreement was negotiated quickly after the Board awarded the $17.7 million bid to 123.Net of Southfield last November.
“123.NET is a foundational provider of Michigan Broadband infrastructure,” according to the county’s Broadband Project Manager, Jill Dunham.
Storey and Vice Chair Dean Kapenga signed a commemorative certificate marking the event.
“The agreement is a monumental milestone of progress to the benefit of citizens throughout Allegan County,” Storey said. “Commissioner Kapenga and I expressed our appreciation on behalf of the Board to county staff, the Broadband Action Workgroup, and 123.NET for its efforts and dedication to bring broadband wired infrastructure to citizens county-wide. This milestone agreement is another example, in my view, of what can be accomplished through teamwork and a spirit of togetherness.”
County Administrator Rob Sarro commented, “It is an honor to be part of the process of developing an agreement that will positively impact so many lives and keep Allegan County on the path of progress. We are fortunate to have a county team that can work together to deliver a result and attract new partners like 123.NET to join our team and invest in Allegan County.”
“When notice of federal ARPA funds became available, Allegan County quickly sought input from the community and broadband was a top request,” Storey said. “ Advancing broadband coverage in Allegan County and utilizing ARPA funding to do so became a priority addition to the County’s 2021/22 Strategic Plan. The 123.NET agreement will utilize $17.7M in county ARPA funds, combined with provider capital and state/federal funding for a total project of approximately $70M.
“Once all funding is received, the project is expected to be completed in approximately 18-24 months. With the contract signing, 123.Net will, with the county’s support, be applying to the state’s MiHI office for a state allocation.”