Michigan Broadband Services completes first phase of optic network expansion

Courtesy photo A Michigan Broadband Services employee works on the company’s fiber optic broadband network expansion in Escanaba recently.

ESCANABA — Michigan Broadband Services has completed the first phase of its fiber optic broadband network expansion in Escanaba. At this phase of the project, the network is capable of providing high speed internet access to business customers along Ludington Street and south to Doctors Park.

“We picked Escanaba because we liked the business climate, we liked the leadership of the community, and it’s in close proximity to our existing operation in the Upper Peninsula,” said Michigan Broadband Services President Bruce Moore.

A division of Carney-based Upper Peninsula Telephone Company, Michigan Broadband Services aims to draw off UPTC’s 110-year history of providing telecommunication services to U.P. customers while bringing the latest networking technology to the region.

“We’re differentiating ourselves not only by bringing the latest and greatest technology, but we’re an … Upper Peninsula company,” said Moore.

While traditional broadband internet transfers data by sending electrical pulses down metal lines, fiber optic lines transmit information using beams of light. The lines are made of strands of glass and are constructed in a way that prevents the light from escaping as it is transmitted — meaning information moves quickly and there is no loss of data even over long distances. Also, because the lines are not metallic, there is no risk of data transfers being slowed or lost entirely due to electrical or magnetic interference.

Fiber optic lines are also unique in that they are not limited by their physical size and design the same way traditional copper lines are. If a business needs to increase the amount of bandwidth they use, Michigan Broadband Services would only need to reprogram that businesses connection to the fiber optic network, not upgrade the lines themselves.

“I look forward to seeing how much this will help businesses. I’m excited for Escanaba’s future,” said Todd Beauchamp of Michigan Broadband Services.

Another aspect of Michigan Broadband’s fiber optic network is speeds would be equal in both directions, meaning it would take the same amount of time to upload data as download the same amount of data. Because information is literally traveling at the speed of light, this means that businesses would have access to upload and download speeds of up to one gigabyte per second.

“Less than six percent of Michigan communities have access to 1Gbs broadband speeds, according to broadbandnow.com, and we’re very pleased to bring this level of service to Escanaba. I’m confident this network and investment will help bring future economic growth and employers to Escanaba,” said Moore.

Two more phases are planned for the expansion of fiber optic network. In phase two, the network will cross the highway and head west, past OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Group. The third phase, which will overlap with the second phase, will take the network north to the U.P. State Fairgrounds and Bay College.