Holland’s community-owned broadband network building ‘fiberhoods’

It’s been a busy time for Holland BPW Utility Services Director Ted Siler, who is overseeing the build-out of the city’s new fiber internet services.

Crews have been working for months on the public utility’s internet service. It is being rolled out across the city in zones, also known as “fiberhoods.” 

“We're hoping to get our first customers by early summer, and we're figuring it's going to be about a two-year project with completion done in the summer of 2026,” Siler says. 

The public utility will offer 2 gigabits per second (Gbps) symmetrical service for $45 a month and 10 Gbps for $125 a month. The monthly cost includes the modem, router, and installation. To meet the varying needs of customers, Holland BPW will offer some add-on services.

“You don't have to rent your router or your modem or any of that other stuff. That's all going to be included in the price. We think that's very competitive, and probably the lowest price for that speed in town,” Siler says.

He adds that the new public utility doesn’t eliminate private sector options.

“Whether you sign up with us or not, we think you're probably going to save money in the long run by this network being an option in town,” he says.

The first fiberhoods to go live will be the Historic Zone and the Centennial park zone. Service installation is expected to begin in late spring for these areas. Installation in the downtown zone is scheduled to begin in July. 

2022 millage made it possible

In August 2022, Holland residents approved a 25-year millage to support the initial $30 million plan, which allows the city and its Public Works Department to expand the community-owned broadband network. Residents will first see the broadband millage on their 2024 summer property tax bill. The millage will start at 1.2 mills, which is lower than originally planned.

Holland BPWThe BPW's inventory of fiber will be used to build a network over next 2 years.

Last August, Holland City Council voted to authorize $23 million in bonds to fund the installation of a high-speed fiber optic broadband network that will be available to every city resident.

Holland BPW will contact customers to schedule installation as fiberhoods are

Holland Board of Public Works is a community-owned utility serving more than 30,000 residential and business customers. It provides infrastructure and services for electricity, water, wastewater treatment, and is now a certified all-fiber broadband network. 

In Downtown Holland, Holland BPW began serving internet customers in 2017. This expansion of the network was done as a pilot project which led to where we are now. Customers in the Downtown Fiberhood who already have the service will be switched over to the new rates this summer.

“It'll just be those people in that current service who will be switched over to the new rates this summer,” says Siler.

So far, more than 1,500 people have expressed interest in the service. The utility plans to set up 15 fiberhoods.

“You can put in your address on the BPW website and it'll tell you what zone you are in,” says Siler.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.