Traverse City Utility Builds out New Fiber Network

By Jason Cockerham

(UC) — Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) has launched its new fiber broadband network which will include installation of nearly 15 miles of cable through the city. 

The majority of the 79,000 feet of cable will be installed underground.

“TCL&P has been building the TCLPfiber network incrementally, methodically, and carefully because quality is extremely important,” said Tim Arends, executive director, TCL&P.

The new network is all fiber and does not use coax or copper cable, or satellite technology to deliver service.

The idea for the utility to build its own network was hatched several years ago, growing out of a $1.8 million partnership the TCL&P entered with the Traverse City Area Public Schools to construct a dark fiber network in the community. Several organizations are currently connected to this network.

Another partnership followed between the Downtown Development Authority and TCL&P that offers free Wi-Fi downtown.

TCL&P’s ultimate vision is to build a FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) communications network offering gigabit broadband internet access for residents, businesses, and others in their service area.

The company began construction in September of 2019, but the city has a moratorium on construction in the right-of-way (ROW) from November to April.

TCL&P told Underground Construction it plans to finalize the core construction this month and complete the remaining portion as soon as possible.

The initial rollout will serve 1,900 customers with additional connectivity to come in the future.

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