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123NET and Ottawa County, Michigan’s seventh largest county by population, have entered into a public-private partnership to build 380 miles of additional fiber in the county.

The county board and 123NET finalized the agreement near the end of last year. The $25 million project, funded, in part, through Michigan’s ROBIN program ($14 million), Ottawa County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds ($7.5 million), and 123NET ($3.5 million) will bring fiber access to about 4,000 residents.

The project will add to123NET’s 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. Upon completion, which is expected to take a few years, Ottawa residents will receive internet speeds of up to 6 Gbps.

The network will offer open access and will be carrier-neutral, allowing other network providers to access the fiber, giving residents the ability to choose their preferred internet provider.

The project continues 123NET’s history of leveraging its myriad of existing relationships, state and federal government to expand fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments, which it began in 2021.

Among those projects is one with Peninsula Fiber Network, LLC (PFN) for a privately funded middle mile fiber optic network from Bay City to Southfield, Michigan. This multi-million-dollar project spans approximately 130 miles, adding middle-mile capacity to Michigan’s telecommunications infrastructure.

“We’re at an interesting time in broadband deployment as there are a number of unique funding programs that counties and municipalities can access,” Chuck Irvin, 123NET executive vice president, said in a prepared statement.

“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.” 

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