It is no coincidence that many speak of the “American dream”. Nobody knows exactly what it is, but in fact, the United States is a country where almost anything is possible. In this particular case, a Michigan citizen, unhappy with his operator’s internet service, decided to create an internet delivery service himself. Today, it competes with operators but… its success is beyond imagination.
Jared Mauch built fiber internet service because he didn’t have good broadband service from AT&T or Comcast. Now, instead of just having her neighbors as customers, she has a network of more than 70 houses and will soon reach 600.
Internet: In rural and inland areas, no one wants to invest
The pandemic has brought a new reality where work can be done from home without loss of productivity. However, it is this measure that has shown many weaknesses in the Internet service that everyone has at home and also in businesses. After the pandemic many of these habits seem to have diminished and we will continue to need a fast computer and a good internet connection.
If in the most urban areas there already exists today this quality of service provided by the most varied communication operators, inside as in rural areas the reality is quite different.
Mauch, network architect at Akamai, is well aware of this situation, according to Ars-Technica. The man lived for two decades in Municipality of Scio, a small town in Michigan, USA. In 2002, he contracted a cable connection which was the fastest at the time (in the region), offering 1.5 Mbps. However, over time, Jared needed something fast and opted to switch to a wireless service provider that offered 50 Mbps, even though he would have preferred a physical connection.
If you don't like the communication operator...compete with him
At the time and given the neighborhood where he lived, the man did not really have a choice. He then tried to contact the American telecommunications giant, Comcast. Jared asked the company if there was a chance that his location (specifically his residence) would receive a fiber optic network for fast service, as needed. Comcast said it was possible, but it came at a cost. He would have to pay a special one-time fee to make this happen, as the company needed to build infrastructure to bring the network to him.
When asked for the value, the response was not very encouraging, the value was around $50,000. So 6 years ago that would have been the amount to pay, but Jared Mauch thought it was too much.
He had also turned to AT&T, another major operator in that country, but the connection speed offered was only 1.5 Mbps. Faced with this scenario, the man began to seriously consider buying a direct connection to a provider of this type of service, but more dedicated to large companies in Michigan, Advanced Communications & Data (ACD).
Of course, the price was very high, especially since ACD did not have a fiber optic network deployed in the countryside. However, what was a problem quickly turned into an opportunity.
It was then that Mauch had the idea to hire this supplier and build his own network. So, in addition to serving yourself, you could sell hookups to your neighbors to recoup your investment and even make a profit. However, that simply meant creating your own ISP (Internet Server Provider) service. As usual, this involved a lot of legal and administrative bureaucracy.
From dream to reality... and there will be fast internet for many people in rural areas
The idea caught on and the American, increasingly dissatisfied with Comcast, AT&T (as well as the other suppliers also contacted) decided to get to work. Basically, he worked out all the necessary and legal process, and after a while, he technically became a competitor of these companies in the region.
Jared Mauch founded Washtenaw Fiber Properties LLC to comply with local government legal requirements. He began to develop his own fiber optic network over the entire length and width of the area where, as mentioned above, he has lived for twenty years.
After an investment of $145,000, the Mauch ISP added 30 customers in 2021, and now has over 70. The cost of service is $65 per month for 50 Mbps symmetric, $75 for 250 Mbps and $99 for 500 Mbps. Either way, $599 is required for installation, although the original installation price was $199.
Currently, as we have seen, these residents of remote areas have begun to rely on other technologies, such as stellar link. Thus, the inhabitants of Scio Township can now make this option, despite the fact that the performance of the SpaceX company is lower and more expensive.
As known, the Starlink network offers connections from everywhere 150 Mbps for a monthly fee of $99 and a $499 installation kit.
Currently, the American's plans are taking on an unimaginable dimension. The city council, with federal funds, finance part of the expansion of Washtenaw Fiber Properties LLC. In doing so, the company will expand its service to 417 locations, including neighboring rural areas, opening the door to potential new customers.
With this support, Mauch will be able (and will have to, as required by a contract it signed with the State), to offer a symmetrical connection of 100 Mbps for 55 dollars per month and 1 Gbps for 79 dollars per month. In addition, the price of the installation will return to its origins, that is, it will be 199 dollars.
The man says that despite the success of his project, he will not give up his other job and will continue to be an Akamai network architect, even though he now has a better internet connection.