Casair project is designed to provide broadband to Montcalm County and surrounding areas

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 2:02 pm on Saturday, March 02, 2013

STANTON — Casair is still working on a broadband project to provide high-speed Internet services to five counties.

In September 2011, Stanton-based Casair received its first round of nearly $26.5 million in funding for its aggressive broadband expansion project, which gave the company 36 months to complete the project.

For the project, Casair will received an $18.5 million grant and a $7.9 million low-interest loan to provide Internet to rural households and businesses over fixed Wireless WiMax and fiber optic cable to health care facilities, libraries, schools and community organizations.

The company has upgraded 23 towers that are providing high-speed Internet and plans on upgrading 41 additional towers with the new equipment, according to Casair’s Director of Marketing Chris Borek.

“The company has also upgraded its capacity for increased speeds and has installed thousands of new customers,” Borek said. “The company is also in the process of building 14 new cell towers that will be constructed in areas without any existing towers. The new towers will provide wireless broadband coverage and could improve cellular coverage by having infrastructure that can accommodate cellular carriers to co-locate.”

In addition, Casair began in the Greenville Industrial Park to build a 400-mile fiber optic network that will continue in Stanton as soon as next week, he said.

Borek said broadband availability has a direct impact on economic growth and would create opportunities for growth in Montcalm County.

“Residents of Montcalm County can utilize high-speed Internet to advance as a community socially, educationally and also medically,” Borek said. “Teleworking or working from home can save residents fuel costs and provide employment opportunities beyond a normal drivable distance and can only be accomplished with the availability of a quality broadband connection.”

Through the broadband project, more than 40,000 households and 5,000 businesses will have access.

“In the areas with other options, Casair often provides higher speeds at lower costs without data caps or restrictions than what is currently being provided,” Borek said. “The fiber route has been designed to connect as many business areas, population centers and anchor institutions (government entities, schools and healthcare) as efficient as possible.”

With the project, Borek said Casair is creating jobs both internally and externally through local subcontractors.

“Various areas have already been completed and the rest of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year,” Borek said. “The most important aspect of this project is that the areas in mid-Michigan that are being served by the project will go from being severely ‘underserved’ to one of the most connected areas in Michigan.”

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