HOLLAND — City of Holland voters narrowly approved a $30 million proposal to build out a publicly owned, fiber broadband internet network.
The 25-year millage that permits the city to bond for up to $30 million to build the high-speed internet infrastructure passed by 213 votes, or a little more than 51 percent of the total vote, according to unofficial results from the Ottawa County clerk’s office.
“Yesterday, Holland voters decided that they share City Council’s vision for a community-owned fiber optic broadband network that would ensure all in the City of Holland have access to affordable, high speed, reliable telecommunications service options,” Holland Board of Public Works (BPW) General Manager Dave Koster said today in a statement to MiBiz.
Holland BPW staff in the coming months will secure engineering services to complete a final design of the network, while construction could start in mid 2023, Koster said. Officials expect to finish construction in 2025, allowing for 1-gigabit service and the opportunity for private internet service providers to join the open network.
City officials expect the service to cost about $45 per month under a 51-percent take rate. Property owners will be assessed $1.50 per each $1,000 of their property’s valuation.
The open network could potentially support up to 10-gigabit internet speeds. City officials — along with economic development organization Lakeshore Advantage Corp. and several business owners — have voiced a need for faster internet options with the goal of lowering costs for customers and advancing economic development.
“Our team really sees broadband and investments in broadband as really an investment in the third utility that’s necessary for businesses and talent to operate,” Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens previously told MiBiz. “The ROI for broadband has a very significant impact on the future of the community’s economy. A lot of that is driven by manufacturing here, and changes with smart manufacturing, robotics, big data and all of the equipment that’s connected to the internet — it requires a lightning fast connection and speed. The better connection we have for businesses and residents, the more we have to compete and be successful.”