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Chamber Board Talks Fiber Options

The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce has opened dialogue with Traverse City Light & Power Co. over the utility’s study of possible development of a fiber-optic network to deliver high-speed internet service to business and residential customers in the utility’s service district.

Light & Power representatives have met with the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee and the Chamber to discuss the idea. Utility officials said it built an expansive fiber network within its service area about 10 years ago that has limited use for some area operation including Munson Healthcare. But it’s considered an “under-utilized asset”, they said, and could be upgraded to give its business and residential customers a new and potentially lower-cost option for high-speed internet service.

Utility officials said the estimated start-up costs would be around $16 million, which would be funded by city bonding to be paid off over a 20-year period. The system could be operated by Light & Power or the utility could contracts with a private firm to operate the system.

Light & Power officials are seeking input on the concept from the local business community and residents within its service district. If you have questions or comments, contact Chamber Government Relations Director Kent Wood at