Competitive rural-focused fiber broadband provider Highline says that it has completed construction of an area known as “The Thumb” area of Michigan and now is offering broadband to more than 8,000 households in Sanilac, Tuscola, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.
The company won funding for the project through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The 823-mile fiber program represents 14% of Highline’s RDOF location commitment. The company said that it had until the end of 2027 to complete the area in today’s announcement.
The RDOF investment was supplemented with funding from ITC Capital Partners. As Highline Chief Financial Officer Robert Mills explained in a phone interview with Telecompetitor, ITC owns approximately 25% of Highline and organized other investors to invest in Highline when it was created in 2021 through the purchase of two existing providers.
Highline, which traces its lineage back 126 years, is active in Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas, as well as Michigan.
Highline has released multiple updates on its Michigan initiatives, which began in 2021:
- August, 2023: Highline said that it had begun offering service to more than 1,000 homes in Engadine, Naubinway and the surrounding Garfield Town area, including Millecoquins Lake.
- May: Highline said that it was providing 2 Gbps symmetrical service to 32,000 residents in the Escanaba area. It said at the time it would provide service to Sanilac, Tuscola, St. Clair, Lapeer, Mackinac, Chippewa, Schoolcraft, Delta, Menominee, Dickinson, Iron and Gogebic counties by the end of the year.
- April: Highline said it was offering service to more than 900 homes in Wilson, Spalding and Spalding Township, Powers and Meyer Township.
- March: Highline said that it completed construction to provide access to 13,500 households in the Upper Peninsula and the Thumb.
- December, 2022: Highline said that it had constructed more than 1,000 miles of fiber in Michigan and that its one thousandth customer is in Brown City.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report