BENZONIA, MICHIGAN – After growing from two to eight employees and a year and a half of planning, Eclipse Communications will begin construction of fiber-to-the-home high speed broadband in Benzie County on Monday March 28th 2022. There are four initial construction projects, including:
1. Facilities & headend construction
2. Fiber core construction
3. Underground facilities construction
4. Fifteen miles’ aerial/underground construction
Now in its fifth year, Eclipse is a full-service broadband provider encompassing planning, engineering, design, construction and operations and maintenance. In the last year and a half, they have invested over $225,000 in Benzie County fiber optic broadband. Eclipse will continue seeking grant funding and financing to ramp up implementation of its strategic plan.
“What makes Benzie County a stunning place to live and visit also presents challenges in providing access to high-speed broadband,” said Christopher Varenhorst, president of Eclipse Communications. “The county’s dunes, lakes, rivers and watersheds are stunning in their majesty but often difficult to traverse in building out broadband to serve every family, business and organization. By working with Benzie County residents, governments and businesses, we are making important strides in expanding broadband access to areas with little to no broadband options. Our next buildout phase will focus on fiber-to-the-home infrastructure in areas of Benzonia Township, Crystal Lake Township, Platte Township, and Homestead Township.”
The Eclipse plan calls for it to install fiber and rapidly deploy to connect broadband to un-served and under-served areas of Benzie County. The company has worked with Venture North Funding and Development to obtain financing for expanding capacity and purchasing equipment needed for network growth. Eclipse will continue to expand its wireless network in parallel to the new fiber network, emphasizing continually increased investment into fiber infrastructure.
Eclipse’s fiber infrastructure will be composed of the latest fiber optic technology, over-built to support all future-use requirements – touting 10Gbit connectivity, and will directly support the company’s increasing range of complimentary services platforms. The network will focus on residential fiber services, as well as provide a full range of transit, commercial and enterprise-tier services.
“We are thrilled by their progress in bringing broadband to Benzie County and their expansion plans which include migrating their service network to adjacent counties,” said Laura Galbraith, president of Venture North. “They are driven by old fashioned values that are central to the success of all entrepreneurs, including superior customer service. We could not be more impressed by how Benzie County and other community interests are rallying behind their hometown broadband center of excellence to connect the County.”
“It’s a joy to be expanding broadband capacity to students, families, businesses and others in the place we live, work and play,” said Varenhorst. “Benzie County is a challenging area to work in, the topography itself full of complexities requiring creativity and unconventional approaches to master. Our unique and specialized knowledge of northwest Michigan is key in our ability to begin construction of our fiber optic network.”
“The work we are doing here will benefit communities in the future as we continue our growth, increase our employee base, and build partnerships that spell success for everyone,” he said.
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