Broadband internet is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as an internet connection with a download speed of 25 Megabits per second and an upload speed of 3 Megabits per second.
Although Ottawa County does not own or operate a high-speed broadband internet system, it has been working to identify the barriers to broadband access and is working on collaborative solutions to extend broadband to underserved areas—primarily located in the rural areas of the County. Ottawa County is also working to collaboratively promote the availability of existing broadband options.
What We've Done
Community Technology Action Plan (2018):
Ottawa County engaged in Connect Michigan’s “Connected” program as a means to better understand where the remaining underserved areas are situated, as well as to develop additional strategic partnerships so the County can continue to facilitate the extension and promotion of broadband to all of its residents and businesses. As a result of engaging in the “Connected” program, Ottawa County and Connect Michigan developed a series of recommendations designed to improve access to high speed internet throughout the County—thereby boosting economic development, communication, education, and quality of life throughout the region. View the report here.
Construction of 2 Wireless Towers (2009, 2011):
- In May 2011, the Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department obtained approval to construct a new wireless tower in Robinson Township near Johnson Street and 120th Avenue (a previously underserved area). The tower is strategically located near the new M-231 Bypass. Two national wireless carriers currently co-locate their broadband equipment on this county-owned tower for a monthly lease.
- In 2009, Ottawa County constructed its first wireless tower in a previously underserved area in Olive Township on Fillmore Street, just west of 120th Avenue. This tower was constructed by the County because private-sector internet companies were not willing to construct and/or own the tower themselves at this location but agreed to co-locate their equipment on a tower via a public-private partnership. Two national wireless carriers currently co-locate their equipment on this tower for a monthly lease.
Sprint Partnership (2009):As a result of an innovative public-private partnership, Sprint invested more than $1M in 2009 to upgrade and expand its wireless broadband network in Ottawa County. In exchange for enhancing and expanding high-speed wireless broadband service to the County’s rural areas, County and local officials, whenever possible, assisted with expediting permitting, zoning approvals, and site assessments that were needed to upgrade and expand the existing wireless network. County and local officials also assisted in identifying the locations of public structures in underserved areas of the County that could be utilized to install the broadband equipment and assisted in marketing the availability of the network in those underserved, rural areas. This unique partnership resulted in nearly 95% of the County's population with access to high-speed, fully-mobile broadband via Sprint’s network.
What We’re Working On
Ottawa County is working collaboratively with local organizations, local governments, and high-speed broadband internet providers to facilitate the implementation of the Community Technology Action Plan recommendations. Highlighted below are the efforts that are being made to extend high-speed broadband to underserved areas of the County as well as promote the availability of existing broadband options.
Extend High-Speed Broadband:
Recommendation: Seek grant opportunities to extend broadband to underserved areas
Ottawa County is working collaboratively with local governments to prepare for impending federal and state grant opportunities to extend high-speed internet into the underserved areas of the County.
Recommendation: Collaborate with schools to identify students who don’t have access to broadband at home
The Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) is developing a mechanism to obtain this information.
Recommendation: Collaborate with local governments in Ottawa County to obtain localized survey data regarding broadband needs among residents and businesses
Ottawa County is working collaboratively with rural townships to understand the internet service needs of their residents and business owners. This involves designing surveys to send to homes and businesses in local townships to determine if high-speed internet access is available, the current level of internet services utilized, and whether additional internet services are needed.
Recommendation: Continue to pursue next generation 911 upgrades for public safety
In August 2018, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved a major technology update for the 911 Central Dispatch Authority. The authority is in the process of switching its service lines from aging copper wires to new, secure fiber-optic cables. It will take an estimated 18 months for the infrastructure to be in place to officially switch the services over.
Recommendation: Explore opportunities to construct new cellular communication towers in underserved areas in collaboration with willing providers
Ottawa County is working collaboratively with local governments to explore this opportunity. One opportunity has been identified in Spring Lake Township.
Recommendation: Extend libraries as “internet access points” in the community
Ottawa County is working collaboratively with local libraries in an effort to seek grant funding to purchase hotspot devices that the libraries can lend out to local residents.
Promote High-Speed Broadband:
Recommendation: Promote broadband information and resources
Ottawa County constructed this web page to explain broadband projects and share information and resources.
- Broadband Advisory CommitteeAngie Barksdale - Chief Operating Officer, West MiWorks!
Becky Lehman - Technology Director, Holland BPW
Bill Badran - Director, Banda Tech Solutions
Brian Burch - Founder, Burch Partners
Brooke Corbin - Innovation Solutions Manager, Lakeshore Advantage
Carlos Garcia-Salazar - Small Fruit Educator, MSUE
Clair Sheridan - Director, Spring Lake District Library
Daniel Morrison - Founder, Collective Idea
Dave Hulst - Director, Ottawa County Information Technology
Diane Kooiker - Director, Herrick District Library
Janessa Smit - Executive Director, Allendale Chamber
Jason Pasatta - Planning Commissioner, Ottawa County
Jeff VanderWerff - Owner, VanderWerff Family Farms
John Martin - Director, Loutit District Library
John Nash - Supervisor, Spring Lake Township
Joy Gaasch - President, Grand Haven Chamber
Kathy Kuck - Supervisor, Robinson Township
Ken Bergwerff - Supervisor, Jamestown Township
Michelle Fare - Executive Director, Hudsonville Chamber
Mike Rohwer - Technology Assistant Superintendent, OAISD
Paul Sachs - Director, Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement
Peggy Weick - Administrative Manager, Ottawa County Farm Bureau
Rose Zainea-Wieten - Executive Director, Coopersville Chamber
Ric Gajewski - Planning Commissioner, Ottawa County
Scott Geerlings - President, Midwest Construction
Shannon Felgner - Communications Manager, Ottawa County
Toby Van Ess - Supervisor, Tallmadge Township
Use this website to find low-cost internet and affordable computers in your area.
21st Century Infrastructure Commission
In March 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder created the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. The Commission developed a list of 110 solutions to improve Michigan’s infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for all Michiganders.
Speed TestTest the speed and performance of your internet connection here.
- Types of Broadband Internet
No High-Speed Internet? Let us know!
- Broadband Advisory Committee