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Holland voters to decide if city will have its own high-speed internet network

If passed, the BPW says it would be at least a couple years still before the service would become available.

HOLLAND, Michigan — Voters in Holland will soon decide on whether the city will have its own high-speed internet network available to everyone. While some embrace the idea, others aren't so sure about it.

The Holland Board of Public Works put the plan for the network together. Utility services director Ted Siler says it would create competition, driving down prices of private providers.

"Many people only have one option, even though there's a couple of different providers in Holland, but other people have choice," says Siler. "So it's really providing more choices, creating more competition."

It'll also bring service to all parts of the city, even the most rural.

"The network will pass every property in Holland," says Siler. "So, that's the nice thing. It's a community-level investment."

Seasonal Holland resident Ted Bolema, however, isn't as optimistic.

The cost of the project could be upwards of $24 million, and the city would fund it through a millage. Bolema doesn't want to pay into it if he isn't using the service.

"That's a problem that can be addressed just by making arrangements for those specific customers rather than creating this whole new level of competition," says Bolema.

The BPW says the service would easily compete with private providers today.

"This would be a high speed, fiber optic network," says Siler. "So, a good connection is what we would plan to offer."

But Bolema fears the planned 25-year millage will keep network speeds stuck in the past.

"The city is going to be locking into a technology, that might not be the prevailing technology, or probably won't be the prevailing technology, in 25 years," says Bolema.

The proposed city wide internet network will be on the Aug. 2 primary ballot. If passed, the BPW says it would be at least a couple years still before the service would become available.

    

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