SonicNet was recently awarded an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) broadband infrastructure grant to build a new fiber-to-the-premises network in the Bass Lake area of the Town of Washington in Vilas County.
Since 2007, when SonicNet was founded to provide fast, reliable internet service to our neighbors in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, we have provided fixed wireless access (FWA) service. This simply means that we have used microwaves over the air to transmit internet connectivity, usually between a tower and the customer’s location. FWA has been a key factor in residents of Vilas and Oneida counties, as well as the UP of Michigan, being able to access broadband over the years. With only DSL or satellite services available otherwise (and then not always), FWA served a very important need, was quick to deploy and was very cost effective.
But the Northwoods is a very difficult place to utilize FWA. The many dense forests and hilly terrain make getting a line-of-sight connection from the tower to the customer challenging. And the faster speeds required today by our customers need that line of sight.
So what are we doing about that? We’re pivoting from a FWA-based network to a new fiber-based network. Fiber has the benefits of blazing fast speeds, long-life infrastructure and fewer upgrade requirements over the years. Costs for the fiber optic cable have come down to the point where it has become more feasible to bury fiber in our Northwoods rural neighborhoods, especially, and very importantly for SonicNet, with grant funding availability.
SonicNet wishes to thank the Town of Washington for partnering with us on this grant application and project. And we also want to thank the Wisconsin Public Service Commission Broadband Office staff and the Commissioners for believing in our vision for the future and awarding SonicNet this grant.
We will provide updated project information in this blog page, on social media and via the Town’s emailed newsletter to residents.
If your town in Vilas, Forest or Oneida county wishes to learn more about how to partner with SonicNet to bring fiber connectivity to your residents, contact Lori Collins at 715-303-3104 (phone or text) or firstname.lastname@example.org.