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20 Zones In Service

12 Zones In Pre-Registration

9916 Backers Registered


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ENJOY MORE WITH MEC INTERNET

More connecting with friends. More streaming movies. More online gaming. More of what you love online. Our unlimited packages start at $49.95/mo. for 25 Mbps and include free installation for MEC electric members.

Now you can enjoy more for less with reduced pricing on our most powerful packages. Our 100 Mbps package is now $79.95 per month, and our 1 Gpbs package is just $119.95 per month. Sign up for either one of these packages by June 30, 2018 and you’ll receive a $30 Netflix gift card to kick start your entertainment.* Just enter your information in the address box and click "Search for My Address" to get started.

BASIC ADVANCED ULTRA GIG
$49.95/mo. $59.95/mo. $79.95/mo. $119.95/mo.
25 Mbps
Download/Upload
50 Mbps
Download/Upload
100 Mbps
Download/Upload
1 Gbps
Download/Upload
Unlimited Data Unlimited Data Unlimited Data Unlimited Data
Managed WiFi: $5/mo.** Managed WiFi: $5/mo.** Free Managed WiFi** Free Managed WiFi**
    $30 Netflix Gift Card $30 Netflix Gift Card

Right now we're offering internet to our electric co-op members within our southwest Michigan service territory and are currently in year four of our five-year construction project. We’re also collecting expressions of interest in southeast Michigan and will determine next steps in that part of our service territory later this year.

Not a co-op member? Go ahead and sign up and encourage others around you to sign up. We’re committed to taking care of our electric members first, but will likely extend service into areas with enough interest once we’re through the initial five-year deployment.  

*You must be a member in an active zone to participate in the Netflix promotion. 

**Managed WiFi includes a high-tech router with 24/7 remote support so you can enjoy a fast, reliable connection without the worry of maintaining your network. 

Please note: All packages require a one-year commitment. Internet services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.



Fiber Internet

Work, play, school, entertainment, retail therapy – fiber internet offers solutions for your life. Plans start at just $49.95/month with speeds of 25 Mbps down and unlimited data. 

Telephone

Enjoy crystal-clear calls over your fiber network with unlimited calling to the entire United States and beyond! International calling plans and other features available.

View Local

ViewLocal delivers local channels over the internet. Click here for more information.



Zones In Pre-Registration

Areas where a goal must be met before service will be made available.




April 2018 Construction Update

10:08am April 19, 2018

“Having this service installed was like going from the Middle Ages of Internet to the Present instantly! I am now able to do all of the things I only wished I could do before. I am really happy about getting connected to this marvelous technology. Thank you MEC!” (Glenn, Lawton)

 

Thanks Glenn – we love hearing comments like that. It just reaffirms all over again the importance of what we’re doing for our rural members.

 

We’ve got great news on the construction front below, and some exciting news on the pricing front. We recently reduced prices on our top-tier packages, allowing you to enjoy MORE for less. Our 100 Mbps Ultra package moved from $99.95/month to $79.95/month, and our Gig package moved from $199.95/month to $119.95/month. Big savings on our fastest speeds, and both packages include FREE Managed WiFi.

Now that we’ve moved into Q2, let’s take a look at our 2018 construction progress:

 

North Marcellus/South Lawton: We promised home installs would begin in Q2, and began delivering in Q1. All three circuits are now fully built and home installs well underway.

Union: This is a big zone with four circuits, and construction work is staggered. All construction is complete and home installs underway on two of the circuits. Construction continues on the other circuits and home installs should be underway for all this summer.

West Three Rivers: Mainline construction is well underway and we still expect to be full steam ahead with home installs in Q3.

Jones: You might see us out and about as walkout work is underway. Remember there are many steps to the construction process, but we still expect to begin home installs in Q4. 

February 2018 Construction Update

11:41am February 12, 2018

January was a busy month in our “crowd” as we received 378 new expressions of interest. A growing number of those expressions is coming from what we call “Remote” backers, or those who are not served electrically by MEC. We’ve earned quite a reputation well beyond our electric service footprint, and people simply can’t wait to have access to our fiber internet option.

 

Our response is always the same: co-op members first. But we’re now less than two years from finishing our southwest Michigan deployment, and beginning to think about our next steps to expand service. Early this year we will present a recommendation to the board of directors about how to approach options for our southeast Michigan and northern Ohio members, and how to extend service into non-member areas. The growth opportunity for this service is extraordinary. Like our tagline says: Together Our Future is Bright!

 

While this brutal winter has slowed our underground crews, we are moving along nicely on our construction and installation schedule. Here’s the latest and greatest for our 2018 zones:

 

North Marcellus/South Lawton: Just last week we started home installs on two of our three circuits, ahead of our second quarter projection. Some are now enjoying their fiber-speed experience, and others will follow over coming weeks and months.

Union: Walk-out work is complete off all four circuits, and mainline construction is underway on three of the circuits. As a reminder, we have four circuits coming out of this substation, so work will be a little more staggered and some will be connected earlier than others. The final steps of construction begin this week on one circuit and we will begin home installs soon. The other circuits will follow and we expect to be in full home install mode by the third quarter.

West Three Rivers: Walkout work is underway and mainline construction will begin in the second quarter. We still expect for home installs to start during the third quarter.

Jones: Things are still quiet for the newest zone added to our 2018 construction plan, but we fully expect walkout work to begin in the second quarter and home installs to start sometime during the fourth quarter.

We continue to receive heartfelt words of thanks from new subscribers, including this from Jeannie in Marcellus: “My children all live in towns or cities where cable internet is available, and I felt like a second-class citizen with my slow, expensive internet service. Now we have internet that we can use any time of the day and we don't run out of our data allowance or get charged extra for going over. My son couldn't play his online games and we couldn't use Netflix or Hulu.  Now we can do anything we want online any time we want. This new internet service is a dream come true!” 

Welcoming Jones to our 2018 Build

11:08am January 10, 2018

In case you missed our big Facebook Live announcement on Tuesday, we’ve added another zone to our 2018 build. Welcome Jones!

So where do we stand with 2018 construction? We’re glad you asked! Here’s a recap of where we’re going and the current status.

North Marcellus/South Lawton: All walkout work is complete and mainline construction is complete for two of the three circuits. Mainline splicing, drop construction and drop splicing will continue through the first quarter (unless Mother Nature drops another major arctic freeze on us!), and we still expect home installs to begin during the second quarter.

Union: We have four circuits coming out of this substation, so work will be a little more staggered and some will be lit earlier than others. It’s just the nature of the build! Walkout work is complete on two of those circuits, and the other two will be underway in the first quarter. Generally speaking, we expect mainline construction and mainline splicing to be completed for all by the end of the second quarter, with drop construction and drop splicing slated for third quarter. All home installs also should be underway in Q3.

West Three Rivers: Walkout work will be underway during the first quarter on the two circuits coming from this sub, with mainline construction following in second quarter. We expect the other construction steps will follow in short order so that we can begin home installs in the third quarter.

Jones: Watch for an email from us over the next week or so to confirm your order; it’s a critical step for continuing your process. Walkout work should begin in July and we expect home installations to start sometime during the fourth quarter. Future updates will include more detail on the newest member of our 2018 build.

Because this is year four of our five-year southwest Michigan deployment, we know that our 2019 build will include Hartford-Covert, Texas-Portage, Paw Paw, Constantine-White Pigeon, and Bloomingdale. You can still play a role in shaping who goes first in 2019 by continuing to build interest in your zone. As with all of our other areas, the actual construction plan will be driven by the percentage of interest in each zone.

If you’re in one of our southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio areas, we encourage you to continue spreading the word and getting friends and neighbors to sign up. Early this year, the Board of Directors will evaluate service options for our members in the Adrian service, so this is the time to build your zone. 

Construction Update December 2017

9:25am December 12, 2017

As we close the chapter on 2017, here is an update on our fiber project. We know some of you have been waiting for what feels like forever, but we are over half-way done. In fact, we’re about to enter year four of five. This project covers hundreds of miles of territory not to mention drops to thousands of businesses and residences. So we appreciate your patience as we continue to work hard to bring high-speed internet to rural southwest Michigan.

Mattawan: Construction is complete and we have lit some subscribers. We're continuing drops and installations through the winter, weather permitting.

North Marcellus/South Lawton: We’ve started mainline construction and some splicing. Drop construction and splicing will begin first quarter of 2018. If all goes as planned, we’ll begin lighting subscribers second quarter of 2018.

Union: Walkouts and mainline construction has begun with home installations tentatively scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2018.

West Three Rivers: Walkouts will begin in second quarter of 2018 and home installations will be just a few short months away in the third quarter.

As with any construction project, these timelines can change, particularly if Mother Nature throws us a major curve ball.

We are dedicated to eliminating the digital divide that rural America faces with lack of access to modern internet. As Leslie in Decatur can attest to, your whole family will benefit from the reliability of fiber internet: “It has been wonderful to no longer have bandwidth limitations and to finally be able to have streaming available!  Our grandchildren are much happier to come to visit now that they can use the internet as they are used to at home. That has been a valuable plus!!”

 

2018 Fiber Internet Construction Plan

1:52pm October 12, 2017

Time flies when you’ve having fun, and we’re having a blast bringing fiber internet to our southwest Michigan members.

In a couple of short months, we’ll begin year four of our five-year deployment. We still remember the day we lit our first customer, and we’ll end this year with over 6000. We’re having a ball, and love hearing all of the great comments from our subscribers.

So what happens in 2018? You’ve worked hard to build your zones, and we’re excited to announce that our first zone to go into construction in 2018 is not one zone at all, but TWO!

Today we welcome Union and West Three Rivers Zones into our 2018 build.

We’ll begin walk-out work in both areas yet this year as we plan and engineer the build. There are many stages to the actual construction process, and depending on how Mother Nature cooperates this winter, we hope to begin home installs in Summer 2018.

East-North Dowagiac: Construction is complete and we’re actively installing new subscribers.

Mattawan: Construction is partially complete and we have lit some subscribers. We're continuing construction efforts through the fourth quarter.

Marcellus: Construction is complete and we’re actively installing new subscribers.

North Marcellus/South Lawton: We’ll begin mainline construction and splicing this quarter, and drop construction and splicing first quarter of 2018, weather permitting. If all goes as planned, we’ll begin lighting subscribers early second quarter of 2018.

Here’s a recent testimonial from a new subscriber, in celebration of harvest season and all of our hard-working farmers. “Ours was a specialized installation -- more complicated than usual. We were very pleased with your staff. The speed? Exceeded our expectations. In Truck-Talk -- The fiber is like having a whole new gear -- like Overdrive! Comparatively, the previous option was working in "creeper" gear. I'm getting more accomplished every day -- increase in productivity! In business, that's money in the bank! A couple of years ago, I bought a new computer because my existing one was so slow. Now I realize, it wasn't the computer, it was the internet connection speed that was lacking. Thank you for bringing "Fiber to the Farm"!”

 

What Zone Will Be First 2018 Build?

8:24am September 27, 2017

What’s better in the fall than college football, the changing of the colors, and all things pumpkin spice?

The big announcement of the first fiber build of 2018!

We now have nearly 5500 subscribers actively using our fiber internet service, and are adding about 250 each month. We’re changing the landscape of opportunity for our members in southwest Michigan.

So what’s next?

We’re looking to year four of our five-year southwest Michigan deployment and getting ready to announce our next zone to go live. As it stands right now, our Union Zone is in the lead at 57% to goal, with West Three Rivers Zone slightly trailing at 53% to goal. There’s still opportunity to impact the plan by talking up the service and getting your friends and neighbors to sign up.

Friday the 13th tends to evoke feelings of fear, but for one zone it will be a day of joy as we announce our first build of 2018. And if it’s not your zone, don’t fret. We’ll bring additional zones into the 2018 construction year, and officially wrap up our southwest Michigan deployment in 2019.

In November your Board of Directors will meet to discuss our future plans for deployment, including our southeast Michigan deployment plans. Stay tuned as we think big and long, and hold on to these words from Tereasa in Mattawan, “I love the fiber and definitely thank Midwest for doing this! Very awesome. So nice to be rural living with city speed.”

August 2017 Construction Update

8:31am August 24, 2017

In a one-week period in August, we launched our new Midwest Energy & Communications name and logo, moved into our beautiful new headquarters, and celebrated our 5000th fiber internet installation.

We’ve been a little busy, and the work isn’t slowing down.

We are just over halfway through our five-year southwest Michigan construction plan, and starting to consider next steps to develop a construction plan and timeline for our southeast Michigan service territory. Together our future is bright as we continue our diligent efforts to make sure that small town life doesn’t mean giving up on better living.

Here is the latest construction update:

East-North Dowagiac: We've lit the first few subscribers as we complete all elements of construction. We'll be in touch soon to schedule your install. 

Mattawan: Walkout work is complete and the next phases (mainline construction / splicing, drop construction / splicing) are in progress. Some home installs have begun, and we're full steam ahead with installations this fall.

Marcellus: Main-line construction and splicing have begun and drop construction and splicing should be wrapped up by fall. Just like your friends in Mattawan, some home installs have begun with more just around the corner

North Marcellus / South Lawton: Walkouts have begun for this zone that won this summer’s race to be next in line for construction. Main line construction and splicing begin in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by drop construction and splicing during the first quarter of 2018. You’ll be celebrating spring and warm weather with fiber internet as installations begin in the second quarter.

How do we pick our zones? We don’t; you do. We determine our next zones based on the amount of interest from folks in that zone. So be sure to tell all your friends who live in the area to register here.

Waiting is never fun, and we understand the disappointment that comes with knowing your zone isn’t yet on the list. However, we are building along the same infrastructure that took decades to complete originally, and we every day we make progress.

Laura from Mendon offered a perfect context for the wait: “When you live out in the country, you learn that not all things are easy, not all things are accessible at a moment’s notice. The country teaches you patience and understanding. Today, within a blink of an eye, something that was told would never happen to rural people happened. We have internet, and not by a tether of a phone or an air card with an astronomical price tag on it. Thank you Midwest for being the stand-up people that you said you were.”

AND WE'RE OFF!

8:10am July 5, 2017

After a very close race, we’re excited to announce North Marcellus-South Lawton as our next zone to go into the 2017 fiber construction plan. At the end of our special sign-up period, they emerged ahead of the pack by just a few pre-registrations. The winning-zone ended up at 55% to goal, while Union was an extremely close second with 54%. West Three Rivers landed in third with 52%.

Congratulations North Marcellus-South Lawton! Construction will begin soon with in-home installations beginning in the second quarter of 2018.

Feeling a little deflated because your zone wasn’t the winner? Stay tuned as we will announce the first build of 2018 in October.

You can keep the enthusiasm for your zone going by telling your neighbors to pre-register for service on our Crowd website. We determine construction based on interest expressed through pre-registrations. When we are ready to pick a zone, we go to the one with greatest percentage of interest.

Want help spreading the word in your zone? Send us a message, and we can provide you with some materials.

 

June 2017 Construction Update

7:39am June 8, 2017

How is it June already?! It seems like 2017 is moving at fiber speed. While the year is half over, we’re working just as hard as ever to bring high-speed, reliable internet to our communities. This summer has more exciting developments underway:

West-North Dowagiac: We recently completed all phases and are now actively doing home installs.

East-North Dowagiac: We’ve completed main-line construction and splicing on one circuit and expect to complete construction on the other two this summer. Drop construction and drop splicing will begin promptly after that with home installs beginning this summer.

Mattawan: Walkout work is complete and the next phases (mainline construction / splicing, drop construction / splicing) should wrap up by fall. Home installs are just a few months away.

Marcellus: Main-line construction and splicing have begun and drop construction and splicing should be wrapped up by fall. Just like your friends in Mattawan, home installs are right around the corner.

We know how hard it is to wait for this service. Just remember, with each new install, we are helping you build connections of your own – just like Beverly from Three Rivers: “Broadband Internet has helped me interact with my grandchildren who live nearby in a new and fun way.  We have always had a good relationship, but now this relationship has been additionally enriched.  In addition, I am now able to face time with my little granddaughter in Chicago.  How cool is that!”

Time is running out to help your zone win the race to be next in line for construction. June 30 is the deadline to pre-register!  As of June 7, North Marcellus-South Lawton and Union are in a dead heat at 51% of the goal. West Three Rivers is coming in third at 48%. So now is the time to recruit your neighbors to Join the Crowd.

BIG news for 2017 Construction Plan

12:15pm April 25, 2017

“Down to the Wire”

“Win by a Nose”

“Home Stretch”

“Dark Horse”

These are just a few everyday expressions that originated in the sport of horseracing. As we approach Kentucky Derby weekend, let’s apply those phrases to our crowd action and share some exciting news.

For many months, three zones have been in a tight horse race for the top spot among our zones in pre-registration. North Marcellus-South Lawton is at 47% to goal, Union is at 46%, and West Three Rivers is at 45%. Each is vying for the coveted first build of 2018, and it’s anyone’s race to win at this point.

Here’s the news. Thanks for the very mild winter of 2017, we are well ahead of schedule and prepared to move one more zone into our 2017 build. The stakes just got higher!

It’s time to get out there and spread the word on behalf of your zone. On June 30 we will announce one more zone to go into construction in 2017, with home installs beginning in early 2018. We’re getting down to the wire!

We’re not ruling out the possibility that a dark horse will emerge in this race; one of our zones at a lower percentage could rise up and win by a nose. Again, it’s anyone’s race to win as we approach the home stretch of the 2017 construction plan.

Need some sales materials to help you spread the word? Just shoot us a message through our website, and we’ll hook you up.

Check Your Address

April 2017 Construction Update

10:38am April 5, 2017

The winter of 2016-17 was unpredictable at best. The early months that typically bring snowfall and ice brought unprecedented tornadoes and crazy wind storms in this unusual year. The good news is we were able to keep construction moving through most of the mild season, and are now ahead of schedule!

What are we hearing from our most recent installs? Ken from Waltervliet said, “It’s been a long time waiting, but Midwest has gotten rural Michigan out of the 1980s with the installation of their fiber internet.” And Lisa from Hartford wrote, “Before your fiber we only had dial-up or satellite internet. Being out in the country, we thought we would never have the opportunity to have fiber internet, but Midwest changed all that! No more data caps. My kids can be online for school projects without worry of overages. We are able to stream movies, videos, music, etc. It’s FAST and your plans are VERY affordable.”

Ken and Lisa join about 4000 other active subscribers now enjoying the gold standard of high-speed service, and we’re adding about 50 more each week. Given our great progress, we thought it was time to share another general construction update related to our new 2017 zones:

West North Dowagiac: Surfing at the speed of light has officially started for a few customers served off of one of the two circuits. We’re finishing up the drop splicing for members on the other circuit and expect to begin home installs for those members early in May.

East North Dowagiac: We’ve got three circuits in this area, and construction has started on one. We expect to get through all of the next steps (splicing, drops and drop splicing) on all three circuits throughout the spring, and begin home installs this summer.

Marcellus: Walk-out work is complete on all three circuits, and construction and splicing work have started on one. We expect to get through all of the steps leading up to home installs on all three circuits through the summer, and begin home installs this fall.

Mattawan: We’re working on four circuits in this zone, and walk-out work is complete. We’ve started construction on one of the circuits, and expect to get through all the steps on all four circuits through the summer. Like Marcellus, you should begin seeing home installs this fall.

The horse race for the top spot of zones in pre-registration continues. North Marcellus-South Lawton and Union Zones are currently at 46%, and West Three Rivers is hanging in there at 45%. Who’s going to nose ahead for the coveted first build of 2018? Only time will tell!

February 2017 Construction Update

10:48am February 8, 2017

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow last week, but if six more weeks of winter look like the first half of the season, we’re in good shape!

Mother Nature has helped us keep construction crews at work during this unusually mild winter; great news as we enter the third year of our five-year southwest Michigan fiber deployment.

We now have north of 3500 active subscribers enjoying the gold standard of high-speed service, and raving about the experience. Margie from Decatur was hooked up in December, and had this to say: “As a former Exede satellite customer with a 15Gb data package that was used up before the middle of the month, slow downloads and even slower uploads, I cannot express my extreme happiness with the Midwest Connections fiber services. The price, speed, and reliability of your service are amazing and I would recommend to anyone interested in internet service.”

Thanks Margie! And with that, here is our first official construction update for 2017:

Northeast Cass: After an unexpected delay, we were finally able to start lighting up customers in mid-January. Thanks for your patience!

West North Dowagiac: Construction has started on one of the circuits and we’re well ahead of schedule. We expect to begin lighting up members off this circuit sometime this spring, and the full zone throughout spring and summer.

East North Dowagiac: Walk-out work is complete and construction will begin in the spring. We’re on track to begin installs this summer.

Marcellus and Mattawan: Walk-out work is nearly complete in both zones, and we still expect home installs to begin in the fall.

For those still in pre-registration, there’s an ever-changing horse race for the top spot between West Three Rivers, Union, and North Marcellus-South Lawton. Keep encouraging those sign ups to get your zone into our 2018 construction plan!

Our Gift to YOU on our 3rd Anniversary

3:30pm January 10, 2017

Three years ago today, on an equally cold and blustery winter day, we installed service to our very first fiber internet customer.

Today we have 3,361 active subscribers, and are hooking up about 50 new customers a week!

As we celebrate the growing success of this business, we’re excited to share a great NEW advantage to fiber internet from Midwest Connections. Our gift to YOU!

While more and more incumbent providers are taking away from the service experience by imposing data limits with stiff penalties for overages, Team Fiber is offering even more by moving all customers to the comparable symmetrical service plan at the non-symmetrical price!

Effective February 1, customers who previously paid $49.95/month for 25 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload will now enjoy 25 Mbps down and up for the same price. And those who previously paid $79.95/month for 25 Mbps down and up will keep those amazing speeds at the reduced price of $49.95/month. This change is for customers in all four plans!

Symmetrical service means you get the same speeds for both downloading and uploading. Downloading, which represents the majority of our internet use, is receiving data from the internet to your device. When you put in a website or stream a movie, you’re pulling data down from the internet.

Uploading is sending data from your device to the internet. When you post your fabulous family photos on social media, send email, play online games, or work from home using a remote network, you’re uploading data to the internet.

Symmetrical packages, fiber-speed experiences, and unlimited data.  Happy 3rd anniversary from Team Fiber!

November/December Construction Update

12:59pm November 21, 2016

No one in the tiny village of Mendon ever thought they would enjoy a high-speed internet experience, but Team Fiber has changed all of that. In fact, on November 9 Sharon from Mendon became our 3000th lit subscriber!

Mendon is just one of many rural communities across southwest Michigan that is experiencing the life-changing difference of fiber internet. Peter, another new customer in Mendon, recently said, “Thanks for providing broadband to rural areas. Midwest is one of my favorite providers of services. Cooperatives are the best!”

 

 We appreciate the kind words, and are thankful for the trust and patronage of our growing family of subscribers. As we approach the end of year 2 of our five-year build, we’re excited about the progress we’ve made and eager to move into our new communities as previously announced in the 2017 launch plan!

Here is the final construction update for 2016:

All zones that went live in 2016 will be lit in early December, and installers will spend much of their next few weeks hooking up service to folks in the Keeler and Northeast Cassopolis Zones. Santa may have all kinds of new gift opportunities with fiber-speed internet in the house!

North Dowagiac: As previously shared, we’re approaching this build in two phases because of the size of the zone. Walk-out work in complete across both areas, and construction has started in the area west of the Amtrak railway. We expect to begin home installs early in the summer. Construction will begin east of the railway in the spring, will installs following later in the summer.

Marcellus and Mattawan: Construction work is slated to begin next summer and you should see home installs beginning in the fourth quarter.

Construction crews will keep at it in the field as long as Mother Nature cooperates. In areas with underground service, you may see line laying on top of the snow and ice, but crews will return to bury the line once the weather permits.

From our family to yours, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Making Room for Mattawan in 2017  

8:01pm October 24, 2016

 

In September we brought fiber internet to life for more than 200 members in southwest Michigan. Nancy from Edwardsburg said, “The speed of this internet is amazing! All these years of waiting and hoping finally paid off. Thank you!” Alex from Jones was equally pleased, sharing “I am extremely happy with my new Midwest broadband internet services … I applaud Midwest’s effort to build new infrastructure in rural areas where traditional providers refuse to invest in upgrades. We should all support these efforts in making our lives better.” 

We love hearing from our new customers, and sharing their comments with those who are so patiently waiting their turn.

Speaking of waiting, as we reviewed our previously-shared 2017 construction plan (North Dowagiac and Marcellus Zones), we realized we have room to squeeze just one more zone into the building year. So without further ado, we welcome the good folks of Mattawan to our 2017 build!

You’ve likely already seen some action up that way as we’ve been working on the backbone to connect our substations as part of our electric distribution system upgrade. That work will turn to fiber internet activity late next year as we anticipate installs beginning in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Stay up-to-date on everything related to fiber and your Utility of the Future by following us on our Facebook page.

Where is TeamFiber going in 2017?

11:52am September 7, 2016

North Dowagiac and Marcellus have literally been running neck and neck for the coveted top spot in our Zones in Pre-Registration. Folks in those areas have been working hard for bragging rights as our next zones to “go green” on the map and move into construction.

So today, we’re excited to reward all of their collective grassroots efforts and move BOTH North Dowagiac and Marcellus Zones into active status! Welcome to our 2017 build!

To be fair, North Dowagiac comes into this announcement with a slight lead, so walk-out work has already commenced. Because of the size of this area, we’re building out in two phases. The WEST North Dowagiac Zone is the geography west of the Amtrak railway, and will go into construction first, with home installs tentatively beginning in the second quarter. The EAST North Dowagiac Zone is east of the railway, and should see home installs beginning in quarter three. Remember, there are many steps to this process; refresh yourself with our How Long Until I Have Fiber video.

We’ll begin walking out the Marcellus area yet this year, and expect to start lighting up homes in the fourth quarter of 2017.

We celebrated our 2500th installation last week and are lighting up 50-60 new customers every week. Fiber-speed internet is all the buzz across southwest Michigan.

Here is the long-awaited construction update for all of our active zones:

All construction is complete and members are being scheduled and/or hooked up daily in Calvin, East Vicksburg/North Mendon, Mottville, North Three Rivers, Schoolcraft, Southwest Edwardsburg/East Niles, West Cassopolis/North Edwardsburg, and West-South Dowagiac. If you’re a new user in one of these zones, welcome to the rural broadband revolution! Our installers continue to bring service to life for members in these zones everyday!

Keeler:  We’ve made great progress on construction through the summer. We’re building out three circuits and each is on a different phase of the process. We’ll begin home installs in October for two of the circuits, and expect to have everyone currently in the crowd lit by year end.

Northeast Cassopolis: We’re moving into the splicing stage of construction. Once that’s complete, we still have to build the drops and the drop splicing, but expect to begin home installs in the fourth quarter.

We love hearing from those who are now using the service, and encourage those who are waiting to continue talking it up. Remember, your electric cooperative is stepping up to the plate to bring the gold standard of broadband internet. We’re working hard for you! Stay up to date on everything related to fiber and your Utility of the Future by following us on our Facebook page.

June/July Fiber Construction Update

12:05pm June 28, 2016

We recently celebrated our 2000th fiber installation. In just over two short years, we’ve changed the rural experience for more than 2000 homes and businesses across southwest Michigan, and look forward to bringing new relevance and opportunity to other members across this region.

We know it’s a painful wait for those who remain in the loop; we hear it almost daily. Please remember that we are the electric cooperative working hard to bring this amazing service and experience to our unserved and underserved members. It’s a time- and labor-intensive process, and we are stepping up to serve where no one else is willing. Take hope in these words from Ken in Vicksburg, “The service was well worth the wait. My entire family is happy to access to the fiber optic system!One of the few times a company's hype was lived up to, and Midwest is to be commended.” 

Here is the June/July construction update:

All construction is complete and members are being scheduled and/or hooked up daily in Calvin, Northwest Cassopolis, North Three Rivers, Schoolcraft (Woodbrook: we’re still working hard on the permitting issues), Southwest Edwardsburg/East Niles (Knollwood installs should begin in the third quarter), West Cassopolis/North Edwardsburg, and West-South Dowagiac. If you’re a new user in one of these zones, welcome to the rural broadband revolution!

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  Installations are in progress in two of the four circuits; there’s light in the zone! Drop splicing is underway in the other two circuits, and we expect to begin home installs in July. 

Keeler:  Construction continues; are you seeing our crews in the area? Splicing, service drops and drop splicing all will be underway over the summer, and we still expect to begin lighting up this northwest portion of our service territory in the third quarter.

Mottville: We continue to see a lot of new sign ups in this zone; the good folks of Mottville are eager and will begin seeing the light soon! Construction is complete and splicing and service drops are underway. Third quarter is just around the corner, and that’s when we’ll start scheduling your home installs! 

Northeast Cassopolis: Walkout work is complete and construction is slated to begin in July. Still looking good for fourth quarter installs.

Growing our team to meet the growing demand

7:49am June 7, 2016

We’re excited to introduce three new faces to Team Fiber. As the southwest Michigan rural broadband revolution continues to bring solutions at the speed of light, we’re growing our team to meet the demand!

Paige Deak is the newest member of our customer care team, and joins Greg, Amber, and Libby as one of the friendly and helpful voices on the other end of the phone. She grew up in Cassopolis, and is familiar with Team Midwest and the great things we’re doing for our members and customers!  If you’re local to the area, you might have seen her dishing up ice cream at Lakeside Parlor, where taste testing was always a favorite part of the job!

Tony Fornoff is a home-grown member of the Midwest family. The Dowagiac native joined our propane team last summer as a service tech, and recently transitioned to Team Fiber where he joins Gary, Joe, and Tim as an installation and maintenance tech. He has previous experience in outside telecom plant, and is excited to put that to work to help bring fiber to your home or business, and maintain the system to maximize your speed-of-light experience!

Engineering the fiber construction is a monster task, and we’ve been working closely with our consulting partner, Pulse Broadband, to design the system. We’re now bringing some technical engineering expertise to our own team as Granger native Mike Ham joins us as a communications design tech. Mike graduated from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, and is eager to put his education to work to design and coordinate engineering projects on our grid and within the fiber operation.

Our entire Team Fiber family, and dozens of other employees across the greater Team Midwest Family, are working hard to build the system and bring solutions to your home or business.

May Construction Update

12:32pm May 9, 2016

Last Friday, Joe in our North Three Rivers Zone posted on our Facebook page: “Getting hooked up at 2:00 today. Good riddance Frontier.” We love that kind of excitement! Asked Joe the next day to share his early experience, and he said, “First time we’ve ever been able to stream a movie. Compared to the Frontier DSL we had, it’s like going from dialup to the real internet.”

Thanks for the love, Joe! We’re hearing a lot of similar comments, especially from those who are waiting. The great news is that our techs are banging out about 50 installs a week now, and putting a huge dent into the backlog of customers in active zones awaiting hookup.

For those of you still patiently or impatiently waiting, here is the construction update as of May 1:

All construction is complete and members are being scheduled and/or hooked up daily in Calvin, Northwest Cassopolis, North Three Rivers, Schoolcraft (except Woodbrook, where we continue working on permitting issues), Southwest Edwardsburg/East Niles (Knollwood installs should begin in the third quarter), West Cassopolis/North Edwardsburg, and West-South Dowagiac. If you’re a new user in one of these zones, welcome to the rural broadband revolution!

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  We’ll begin installing two of the four circuits this month, and expect to be full steam ahead with lighting up all circuits early this summer.

Keeler:  We’re working through the many steps and still expect to begin lighting up this northwest portion of our service territory in the in the third quarter.

Mottville: Construction and splicing continue, and you’re still on track to get your install calls in the third quarter.

Northeast Cassopolis: Walkout work is complete and construction should start in June. Everything still looks good for fourth quarter installs.

 

April Construction Update

9:27am April 4, 2016

Our fiber techs are hard at work, and recently knocked out 42 installs in one week! We now have well over 1500 southwest Michigan members experiencing the power of the rural broadband revolution from their own home or business. Chuck, one of our happy users, recently shared the following: “Words can’t really describe how fast Midwest Fiber is. I can’t say enough good things … I use the internet very hard and need reliable speed. It is not uncommon for us to have Netflix running on two TVs, playing online games on a minimum of two computers, and surfing the internet on a tablet all at the same time. Midwest Fiber delivers!”

Chuck is not alone in offering a glowing review, and we know many of you are still waiting to experience that yourselves. While you wait, here is our April construction update:

All construction is complete and members are being scheduled and/or hooked up daily in Calvin, Northwest Cassopolis, North Three Rivers, Schoolcraft (except Woodbrook Subdivision) and West-South Dowagiac. If you’re a new user in one of these zones, welcome to the rural broadband revolution!

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  April showers may bring May flowers, but will also bring May home installs for folks in this zone. Scheduling calls will begin soon!

Keeler:  Construction and splicing are on track as scheduled for second quarter, and we fully expect to begin lighting up the area in the third quarter.

Mottville: Construction and splicing are on track as scheduled for second quarter, and we fully expect to begin lighting up the area in the third quarter.

Northeast Cassopolis: Walkout work continues this month, and we expect to begin construction in June. Fourth quarter is still looking good to begin home installs.

Southwest Edwardsburg & East Niles:  All systems go as we finish up construction, drops and splicing in coming weeks. First home installs will be underway this month!

West Cassopolis – North Edwardsburg: Ontwa Sub home installs continue, and we’ll begin lighting up folks on the Dailey Sub this month.

Evolution of the Utility of the Future

2:37pm March 21, 2016

If you’re receiving this email, you already know the GREAT things happening in the southwest Michigan Rural Broadband Revolution. But do you realize that fiber internet and phone are really by-products of a much bigger project and initiative?

Many of you know that we attempted to provide a reliable internet solution for many years, from dial-up to WildBlue satellite to Broadband over Power Lines. Several attempts, and several epic failures for multiple reasons. But all that changed in 2013. We knew we needed to invest in robust, two-way communication across our electric grid to maximize utility and member benefits with ever-evolving technology, so we committed to a major investment in a fiber communications system. We quickly figured out that we could leverage that investment and provide fiber data and voice solutions to our members. Bam!

It’s all part of the evolution of Team Midwest as the Utility of the Future. When you combine a smart utility grid with what is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things, life as we know it changes. From the utility perspective, we gain access to information and data that allow us to serve you more efficiently and effectively. And from the consumer perspective, you have an improved experience with your utility, and access to a whole new world of advanced home technologies – products and services that will save energy and make life more convenient than ever before.

Team Midwest is growing like crazy as we prepare to be your Utility of the Future. We expect to add at least 30 new employees over the next five years to support these major initiatives, and another 30 or so in the following 10 years to support ongoing growth and operations. We recently launched our Utility of the Future website to share our story, and the resulting need to build a new home to house the growing operation. We encourage you to take a look at what’s coming, and subscribe to our blog to keep up on what we’re doing related to smart grid, fiber, our new building project and everything else. Great things are happening!

And speaking of great things …

One of our newest fiber families is enjoying a new television experience, thanks to Midwest Connections. Heather Lewis signed up for new fiber service during our special holiday promotion late in 2015, and her name was drawn as the winner of a 43” High Definition LED Smart TV. #TeamFiber Rep Greg Dabideen had the honor of making the call and presenting the TV. Heather lives in Three Rivers with her husband and two children. They previously used Frontier for internet service, and are really enjoying their buffer-free experience while watching Hulu. No more delays while doing homework, watching television or playing games. Congratulations to the Lewis Family!

March Construction Update

7:55am March 3, 2016

Today’s forecast calls for 2-4” of snow with a high temperature of 32. Next week we’re looking at highs in the mid-60s. Gotta love some Michigan winter!

Regardless of what the weather does as we inch our way to spring, TeamFiber took advantage of the overall mild winter season and made great headway on construction. And as the weather breaks, we’ll kick all of our efforts into high gear and bring more and more of you online.

Not a lot of changes from last month’s construction update, but here’s the good word for early March.

Calvin: Home installs continue for those areas that were built last spring, and this month we’ll begin lighting up the Shavehead Lake and Mason area members we added late in 2015.

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  Construction continues and we are still on track to begin home installations early in the second quarter.

Keeler:  Walkout work continues and construction is on track to begin in April. We plan to begin lighting up customers in the third quarter.

Mottville: Walkout work continues and construction is on track to begin in April. We plan to begin lighting up customers in the third quarter.

Northeast Cassopolis: Walkout work begins this month with construction, drops and splicing continuing through the summer. Still on schedule for home installs to begin early fourth quarter.

Northwest Cassopolis: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

North Three Rivers:  Everyone in this zone is in the home stretch, and some are already being installed. If you haven’t received the magical call from our scheduler, stand by. It’s coming soon!

Schoolcraft: Home installs continue for most in this zone. We have just a few folks in a subdivision with a delay, but we’ve been in touch and will continue to keep them apprised.

Southwest Edwardsburg & East Niles:  Construction, drops and splicing are underway, and home installs should begin early in the second quarter.

West Cassopolis – North Edwardsburg: Home installations are in progress for folks on our Ontwa Sub, and we’ll begin lighting up the Dailey Sub folks later this month.

West-South Dowagiac:  Home installations are in progress.

Word on the Street: Fiber Rules!

8:50am February 17, 2016

For those of you now using our fiber internet solution, this probably won’t come as a surprise. For those still patiently (or not so patiently) waiting, this should just reaffirm your commitment.

People LOVE their fiber service.

We survey our newly-installed customers to measure their satisfaction, both with the scheduling and installation process and the overall service experience. We’re still learning, and continue to strive to make this experience the very best it can be. You deserve it!

Here are just a few comments from new users from our most recent survey:

  • Love the speed and pricing of service packages. Great Internet afforded to us customers living in rural areas!  (Heather, Dowagiac)
  • I am extremely pleased with Midwest's internet service. After years of paying for Frontier and not being able to use our service, I don't look at it as paying to have Midwest's service. I see it as a bargain price to pay NOT to have Frontier. Good job. Keep it up. (Danny, Dowagiac) 
  • This service has changed our lives, no joke. We went from paralyzed to functional in the flip of a switch. We are thrilled to be connected. Thank you so much. (Susan, Vicksburg)
  • This has been great!! Beats the crap out of old dialup service & my Sprint service. Can watch my Amazon TV, use my iPhone and my laptop. Thing is fast! (Ginny, Three Rivers) 
  • I LOVE my internet. The stress from data overages is long gone, no more having to tell the kids to not use internet for a few days due to data. The speed is impeccable and we have had nothing but a positive experience for the last 3 months. Thank you!! (Carey, Cassopolis)

The other cool thing is that we now have over 3200 people in the crowd, and close to 1400 actively using service. More importantly, we’ve hit a 50% take-rate in four of our active zones! That means 50% (or more) of the people who have access to service have actually signed up. Adoption is growing!

The rural broadband revolution is alive and well in southwest Michigan! Keep spreading the word!

February Construction Update

12:29pm February 2, 2016

The morning news reports show massive Winter Storm Kayla bringing blizzard conditions to the west; fortunately our service area is not currently in her path! Mother Nature has been kind as we’ve entered Year 2 of our five-year build. We’ve certainly got more winter ahead of us, but crews have been able to stay in the field and move forward with walkout and construction work.

We officially welcome Keeler, Mottville and Northeast Cassopolis Zones to our update list this month! Remember, we’re not out of the winter woods yet, but here’s what we know and believe as of today:

Calvin: Home installs continue for those areas that were built last spring. Construction is complete now for the members we added late last year in Shavehead Lake and Mason, and we expect to being lighting up those areas in early March.

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  Construction is ongoing on our first official build of 2016, and with Mother Nature’s continued help we now expect to begin these home installations in April.

Keeler:  Walkout work begins this month, with construction slated to begin in April. The magical scheduling calls should begin during the third quarter.

Mottville: Walkout work begins this month, with construction slated to begin in April. Home installs should begin in the third quarter.

Northeast Cassopolis: Walkout work should begin late in the first quarter, with construction following late in the second quarter. You’re on tap for home installs to begin early fourth quarter.

Northwest Cassopolis: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

North Three Rivers:  All walkout, construction and splicing is now complete and we’ve started home installs on one of the three circuits.  We’re finishing up drops and drop splicing on the other two circuits, and will begin lighting up everyone in this zone yet this quarter.

Schoolcraft: With the exception of a handful of folks in the Woodbrook Subdivision, home installations are ongoing in the Schoolcraft Zone. We’ll keep our friends in Woodbrook apprised of next steps via email or phone.

Southwest Edwardsburg & East Niles:  Construction continues in our second planned zone for 2016, and we expect to begin home installs early in the second quarter.

West Cassopolis – North Edwardsburg:All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

West-South Dowagiac:  All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

That’s the good word for February. We’ll have another construction update early in March!

Three additional zones added to 2016 build

7:34am January 8, 2016

With some amazing cooperation from Mother Nature, TeamFiber contractors have already finished walk-out work, and are now starting construction in our first zone builds for 2016 (East Vicksburg/North Mendon and SW Edwardsburg/East Niles). Guess what that means? We need to get more walk-out work scheduled for 2016 construction! 

So without further ado, we’re excited to announce our NEXT zones for 2016. The first two are proof that grassroots efforts work, as we’ve featured their efforts in previous Crowd updates. Welcome to our 2016 build members in Mottville and Keeler Zones! Walk-out work is beginning during this first quarter (as long as Mother Nature continues to play nice!), and we expect to begin lighting up folks in the third quarter.  We’re also bringing the Northeast Cassopolis Zone into the 2016 plan, with the expectation that we’ll begin installations in the fourth quarter.

As of today we have almost 1200 happily using our service, and 873 folks in active zones (not including our new 2016 builds) somewhere in process. We topped the 3000 mark of customers “in the zone” (which doesn’t even include those in remote areas), and are adding more than 50 new folks each week. 

Year 2 of our 5-year project promises to bring BIG things in the southwest Michigan rural broadband revolution. Keep spreading the word!

December Construction Update

9:51am December 21, 2015

We’ve got a couple of short work weeks in front of us as we quickly approach Christmas and the new year. Our first year has flown by! As we enter these holiday weeks, we wanted to offer a quick construction update.  We had unexpected delays in a couple of areas, and those individuals were notified last week. We continue to appreciate your patience as we work through many unknowns to bring this long-awaited service. We’re ready to tackle 2016 with a strong commitment to light as many customers as we can!

Calvin: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress. Folks in the Shavehead Lake area will begin hearing from us for installations in January.

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  The first official build of 2016! The walk-out work is complete and construction is underway. We expect to begin lighting folks up around May 1.

Northwest Cassopolis: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

North Three Rivers: This is one area where we experienced some unexpected delays on a couple of the circuits. Each circuit is on its own construction timetable, and installations should be underway across all circuits during the first quarter of 2016.

Schoolcraft: This was our initial soft-launch area and is fully constructed. We finally worked through the railroad delays and installations are underway. For those in the Woodbrook area, we expect to complete construction and begin next steps in January; you should begin hearing from us for home installations during the first quarter.

West Cassopolis – North Edwardsburg: Construction is complete and we have started lighting up customers. If you haven’t heard from us for your home installation, you should early in the first quarter.

West-South Dowagiac:  Another area where we were derailed by railroad issues, but we’ve started home installations. If you haven’t heard from us yet, you should early in the first quarter.

West-South Edwardsburg & East Niles: The second official build of 2016! Walk-out work is complete and construction is underway. We expect to begin lighting up folks around May 1.

We’re still planning to add two or three additional zones in 2016, so keep spreading the word.

Everyone at #TeamFiber wishes you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Contractors a huge part of #TeamFiber project

9:09am December 2, 2015

A couple of months ago we shared a video explaining the many steps in the process of bringing fiber internet to your home or business.  A lot of people get excited to see work going on in their yard or neighborhood, only to find out that the actual service is still months away.

Here’s another visual that helps you see and understand the process. We have nine full-time #TeamFiber employees, and a host of employees who work on fiber and other Midwest efforts. But the bigger part of our team are the 46 contactors working on our behalf. 46!  For the most part, these are the folks you’re regularly seeing in the field building that system that will ultimately bring your high-speed solution. The graphic shows the number of individuals working on each piece of the process, and each of these steps must be completed before you ever even get the magic call about your in-home installation. Patience is a virtue!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: five years from now, folks in southwest Michigan will be able to sign up and get service almost immediately. It’s cool to be on the ground floor of this landmark rural broadband revolution; however, that also means you have to experience the pains of waiting while the infrastructure is built. But from what we’re hearing, it’s well worth the wait!

Celebrating our 1000th installation

2:52pm November 19, 2015

We’re all about getting everyone hooked up as quickly as possible with their new fiber service, and this week we hit a MAJOR milestone! 

On Wednesday, our installation tech Gary Martin had the honor of lighting up our 1000th customer, our great friends at the Cass County Council on Aging. The local non-profit had fiber internet and telephone services installed at their Lowe Center facility in Cassopolis.

Bob Cochrane, CEO of the agency, said the COA relies heavily on the internet to deliver services to area seniors. “We offer WiFi access at the Lowe Center, which is very popular with our guests. We also assist with tax returns, and these have to be filed online. Last year we had reliability issues with our service and it was challenging to get the returns filed.” 

The COA also offers a monthly movie, which is streamed over the internet, and Cochrane is eager to see how the new 50 Mbps high-speed service improves the viewing experience.

“We’re so excited to now have fast, reliable service that will provide so many benefits to our team and our customers,” Cochrane said. “We applaud Midwest for recognizing the need and taking a stand to affect change. Our entire southwest Michigan region will be better positioned for growth and new opportunity as a result of their leadership.”

More creative crowdsourcing

9:09am November 11, 2015

The Crowd continues to grow at a steady pace. Current crowd-dwellers are doing a phenomenal job of spreading the word as we have a lot of very organic growth from all zones. We fully expect to have our 1000th customer lit by Thanksgiving. It’s been a great first year!

Expecting some exciting things to happen in the Keeler Zone as one member is taking some extraordinary efforts to spread the word. He took the zone map from our Join The Crowd website and identified parcels that would indicate prospective customers. His intent is to compare that list against the Crowd website to eliminate those who have already signed up, then get busy making contacts to secure new sign ups.

It’s just another example of a creative and committed approach to crowdsourcing, the foundation upon which our future construction plans are developed.

Do you have a creative approach for building your zone? Post your efforts on our Facebook page; we’d love to hear about it! Remember each member does need to sign up his or her own home or business so that when it’s time to light up, we have the right contact information to proceed. We’re here to help with sales flyers and business cards to help you spread the word – just give us a call at 844-493-4237 and we’ll hook you up.

 

October Construction Update

3:25pm October 28, 2015

While many of you reading this are already enjoying the life-changing impact of fiber internet, many others are eager, maybe even bordering on impatient, for the long-awaited call to schedule your in-home installation. Afterall, we’re now one-third of the way through Quarter 4. Tick-tock!  

We hear you and wanted to share this general update. Now that we’re almost through the first year of our five-year build, we plan to begin sharing monthly construction updates so that everyone, particularly those of you in active zones, is aware of the progress we’re making.

First, rest assured that we are on track to light up all promised areas by year end. We ran into unforeseen railroad permitting hurdles in a couple of our zones, but fixes are in place and it’s full-steam ahead.

In a nutshell, here’s the general update on all of our currently-active zones:

Calvin: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

East Vicksburg – North Mendon:  The first official build of 2016! The walk-out work is complete and construction will start in the first quarter depending on weather. Darn Michigan winters! We expect to begin lighting folks up around May 1.

Northwest Cassopolis: All construction is complete and home installations are in progress.

North Three Rivers: All three circuits are well underway for the planned Q4 go live, and everyone should be lit by year end. Each circuit is on its own construction timetable, but home installations for everyone in the crowd will be complete by year end.

Schoolcraft: This was our initial soft-launch area and is fully constructed. However, it was also an area in which we faced those dreaded railroad issues. With our workaround in place, all service drops are complete and splicing is underway. We’ll be in touch soon!

West Cassopolis – North Edwardsburg: Construction is about 50% complete and we expect to begin lighting folks up around Thanksgiving.

West-South Dowagiac:  Another area where we encountered railroad issues. We’re now scheduling installs for folks on the east side of Amtrak, and doing service drops for those on the west side. Everyone will be lit by year end.

West-South Edwardsburg & East Niles: The second official build of 2016! Walk-out work is complete and construction will start in the second quarter. We expect to begin lighting up folks around June 1.

We know you’re ready, and we’re working hard. While we build and light up our active zones, we will continue to encourage grassroots work in the zones in pre-registration.  One or two more zones will be added to our 2016 build, so keep spreading the word!

The RIGHT ways to build your zone

2:20pm October 21, 2015

We recently shared an update and photo about how folks in and around Mottville are using some simple yet effective methods for growing their zone. And it continues to work as we regularly have new members from that area signing up for service.

We saw some crazy overnight growth over the last couple of months in two other zones. We were excited about the flurry of activity, and very curious about what was driving it. After a little investigation, we discovered that one or two eager members had taken it upon themselves to sign up their neighbors. Creative approach? Yep! Good intentions? Absolutely! Workable solution? Not really …

We do encourage you to go door-to-door, put up signs, pass out flyers, spread the word in whatever way you can to educate others in your zone and garner sign ups. However, it’s really important that each member sign up their own home or business so that when it’s time to push “GO” in that zone, we have the right contact information to proceed. If your friend or neighbor doesn’t have a way to get onto the TeamFiber website, just have them give us a jingle at 844-493-4237 and our customer care reps will happily help them through the process.

We love your enthusiasm and eagerness. Lots of great talk about what’s coming. Keep the conversation going and the zones will keep growing!

The MANY steps to bringing fiber internet

10:57am October 7, 2015

Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’ve asked “WHEN” at some point in your own rural broadband journey. You may have uttered it with a snarl of frustration or with a hint of giddy enthusiasm. Or maybe both at different points!

When will fiber come to my home/neighborhood/community is probably the most common question we hear -- and we get it! You went without options for a long time, and now the best possible option is dangling out in front of you – close enough to touch, yet not close enough to log in and use!

Five years from now, folks in southwest Michigan will be able to sign up and get service almost immediately. Those of you waiting patiently (or not-so-patiently) in the crowd are on the groundfloor of this landmark revolution. We’re building a fiber communications system from scratch, and off of that system we’re extending your fiber internet service. In five years, the system will be fully implemented, and delivering the voice and data solutions will be quick and easy. Today, not so simple and not so fast.

We produced this video to help explain the many steps in the process of bringing fiber internet to your premise. While it may not make you any more patient, it hopefully will make you a little more understanding of everything we’re doing today to bring reliable solutions for your future. We’re working with you and for you to change the landscape of rural southwest Michigan. Like those who waited so patiently for electricity in the 1930s, someday soon you’ll be able to say, “I remember the day the co-op came and installed the fiber internet …”

 

Grassroots action in Mottville zone

1:48pm September 22, 2015

We recently spotted this homemade sign in Mottville, and just had to share it! There are a lot of ways to do grassroots work to build your zone, and this is a great example! The Mottville Zone has continued to grow at a steady pace, and is now at the top of the list for zones in pre-registration. Kudos to the individual(s) in Mottville who are raising awareness and growing the zone.

Don’t forget that we also offer some tools to help you spread the word. We have our little “calling card” with the phone number and website that you can pass around, and we also have sales flyers that you can share. Just give us a jingle at 844-49FIBER (844-493-4237) if you’re interested in a supply of these free tools.

Also wanted to introduce you to the newest member of TeamFiber. Amber Mark has been a member of the Midwest Energy Cooperative customer care team for over three years, and recently moved to TeamFiber to bring her great knowledge and skills to our active and eagerly-waiting fiber customers. You can “meet” Amber and all of the members of TeamFiber at the Our Family page of our website.  

A word of encouragement to remote backers

11:54am September 17, 2015

This is one of the cool views we can see from the administrative side of our TeamFiber crowd website. Looks a little like a really bad case of chicken pox, but it’s actually a visual view of “the crowd.” With over 800 customers now active and enjoying their fiber internet, these dots represent the 700+ customers who are “in progress” in active zones, nearly 1800 who are in “pre-registration” (zones that are not yet active), and 500+ who are “remote backers” and considered outside of our currently planned service area. Word has certainly spread as we have remote backers as far away as Shelby, Coldwater and Walkerton, Indiana!

We get a lot of questions from our remote backers, especially those who can see construction going on near their residence. It feels “so close, yet so far” from that perspective. Many remote backers wonder why we can’t just extend the build a little to accommodate their street or subdivision. It’s a fair question, and we wanted to offer an explanation.

We are building this fiber communications platform across our electric distribution system for utility benefit purposes. It’s an investment in our system that will allow us to be prepared as the electric utility to deliver the products and services that our members want and need. The next generation of energy efficiency, safety and reliability standards will require robust, two-way communication across the electric grid, and that is the heart of this project. The byproduct is our ability to leverage that investment to provide data and voice solutions to our members.

So logically, our primary target as we build the electric distribution infrastructure over a five-year period is our electric membership as we’re using existing infrastructure and rights-of-way to facilitate an efficient and logical construction plan.

But if you’re a remote backer, don’t despair. There are areas within our five-year build that we may be able to incorporate just as a result the proximity to our planned construction. You’ll hear from us if that’s the case. Regardless, once our electric service territory is built, we will look at extending the service into other areas as it makes sense and where there is interest. So your challenge is to continue to share the website and build interest in your area. We’re taking care of members first, but also fully recognize that others need and deserve a broadband solution. 

Something GIG and second 2016 build

2:41pm August 31, 2015

We’re excited to share two GIG announcements with our crowd! If you’re in the crowd and already have active service, you’ll hear this and more in a separate email. Sorry for the repeat, but we’re just that excited to spread the word!

Today we’re launching the first Gig-speed internet service to hit southwest Michigan. Up to this point, our highest speed offering was an amazing 100 megabits per second (Mbps), which is pretty darned fast. As of today, current subscribers can get speeds of 1000 Mbps, or 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). Faster than fast!

We also changed up the product names to better reflect how our customers use the service. Instead of Residential and Business products, we’re now offering Non-Symmetrical (formerly Residential) and Symmetrical (formerly Business) products. The upstream and downstream speeds and costs remain the same; the change simply distinguishes the two product offerings in a more meaningful way.

You don’t need to do a thing; we’ll go over all of this when we are ready to install your service. If you’re interested in more information about the Gig offer and costs, visit www.TeamFiber.com.

The other big news: we’re pleased to welcome members in the West South Edwardsburg & East Niles Zone to our 2016 build! Sometime during the second quarter of 2016, we’ll begin lighting up home and businesses in the southwestern-most corner of our service area. Walk-out work will begin shortly, so you may see members of our team out and about. If you’re in our newest GREEN ZONE, please watch for an email over the next couple of days with information on the next steps to begin the process.

Who else will be in the loop for 2016? It’s still up to you. Mottville is now 30% to goal, with several other zones also on the rise. Keep talking it up and yours may be the next zone to be featured in our 2016 plan!

Team Fiber welcomes Eric as Tier 2 Tech Support

9:48am August 25, 2015

TeamFiber is pleased to welcome Eric Wright to the family in the role of Tier 2 Tech Support.  We were lucky enough to snatch him away from our project construction partner, where he worked as an aerial and underground inspector. He has previous experience as an installation and maintenance technician for Comcast, and also worked in sales and support roles for Best Buy. So he’s well versed in high-speed technology platforms and the hardware and software required to make it do what you need and want it to do!

Eric is a self-proclaimed tech-savvy geek who loves learning and teaching. He understands the frustrations that result when things aren’t working the way you need them to, and stands ready to help analyze, troubleshoot and resolve your issues. He’ll also provide tips and tricks and tackle some common issues in a column in our monthly customer e-newsletter and on our TeamFiber Facebook page.

“I love what TeamFiber is doing for Midwest members across southwest Michigan, and am honored to be part of this great effort,” Eric says. “I look forward to working with our members to make sure your experience is the best it can be!”

View the other members of your TeamFiber family at our website.

Welcome to the family Eric!

Fair Fun & Family Movie Night

2:01pm August 11, 2015

TeamFiber was on the midway and BUSY during Saturday’s Midwest Energy Family Day at the Cass County Fair. Thanks to everyone who stopped! We welcomed more than 20 new folks to the crowd over the course of our time at the fair, and probably added about 20 collective pounds to our team through the fine collection of fair foods!

Sometime in the next month we expect to announce our second planned build for 2016. Right now we’ve got the West/South Edwardsburg & East Niles Zone at 31%, and the Mottville Zone at 29%, so it’s still up for grabs. Keep working to build your zone and you could be the next to turn GREEN on our map!

Mark your calendars for this special event: Midwest Propane is hosting a Family Movie Night on August 27 as part of our Fueling the Fight campaign. The event will be held under the stars on the lawn of the Cass County Council on Aging, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and gather with us around a giant LED screen to watch the Disney/Pixar family favorite UP.  Smokin’ Good BBQ will have great food and concessions, and we will have the giant 8-story Touchstone Energy Hot Air balloon, with tethered rides available for purchase (weather permitting). The movie event is free and open to the public, but financial contributions are encouraged. All proceeds will be donated to the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit our Movie Night event page for more details. In three years Midwest Propane has donated more than $35,000 to support regional cancer care and services through the Fueling the Fight campaign. Hope to see you there for a night of family fun for a great cause!

And the winner is ...

9:57am July 23, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we had Celebration597 –a little internal party to recognize a milestone in our journey to provide a high-speed solution to our membership. We’ve dabbled in internet products and services for over a decade; Wild Blue satellite was one of those offerings. While satellite as an internet platform is certainly fraught with issues, it resulted in our highest number of active customers at 596. TeamFiber surpassed that number in early July, hence our milestone celebration, and today we have well over 600 high-speed homes and businesses across southwest Michigan!

So what’s next? We continue working our 2015 construction plan, and will be bringing service to North Three Rivers in the fourth quarter. As we’ve said from the beginning, YOU determine where we go beyond 2015 by spreading the word and building your zone.  You’ve worked it, and we’re pleased today to announce our first build for 2016. Drumroll please …

EAST VICKSBURG/NORTH MENDON!

Sometime in the second quarter of 2016, we’ll begin lighting up homes and businesses in the easternmost part of our southwest Michigan service area. Over 150 are currently signed up in that zone, and we expect that to jump as we begin actively marketing the service.  Walk-out work will begin next week, so you may see members of our team out and about. The engineering and construction will happen during Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, and we expect to begin in-home installs sometime in Q2. As we learned in the Deep Freeze of 2013-14, Mother Nature can wreak havoc with the best-laid plans, but you’re first on the list for 2016.

That’s just the early plan for 2016, so don’t stop spreading the word. We’ll add additional zones based on the expressions of interest at our website. Keep sharing on social media, passing out business cards and flyers, and generally talking it up. You’re in control of where we go – just ask the folks in East Vicksburg and North Mendon!

Who’s next in 2016?

2:25pm June 23, 2015

Portions of Dowagiac will be buzzing with excitement later this week as about 600 members get "THE LETTER" from #TeamFiber letting them know we’re coming during the third quarter. More happy faces across southwest Michigan!

As we continue to progress with our planned 2015 construction, we’re starting to look ahead to 2016. Remember we launched Crowd Fiber as a way to determine the areas of greatest interest to help provide a roadmap for our five-year build. With the first year nearly under our belts, it’s time to start considering the big question: WHO’S NEXT?

It’s in your hands, and you still have time to impact our 2016 build. In mid-to-late July we will determine where we’re going in the first quarter of 2016, and that will be determined by the zones with the greatest expressions of interest based on goal. Right now, as you can see, folks in the East Vicksburg North Mendon zone are firmly in the lead at 46% to goal, but it’s not too late. We’ve seen how the word-on-the-street approach can make a huge difference.

Here’s the thing to remember: there’s a lot of noise in our lives, and a lot of stuff competing for our attention. Just because YOU caught on quickly to the rural broadband revolution doesn’t mean your neighbors did. One member recently shared how surprised she was that her neighbors had no idea this service was available, even though they’d also received the introductory mailing and subsequent monthly direct mail postcards. We can do all of the creative, inventive, ingenious advertising in the world, but nothing will ever be more effective that neighbor telling neighbor.

Pass out the Solutions business cards (still available at no charge in packs of 25 – just call us at 844-493-4237), go door-to-door, get busy on social media, and you could be among the next group of people getting THE LETTER. It’s all in your hands!

Introducing your #TeamFiber family

1:13pm June 9, 2015

The #TeamFiber family grew last month with the addition of Gary Martin as our newest Installation and Maintenance Technician. Gary brings years of experience in the telecom world and joins Tim Brown and Joe Alford in bringing your service to life!

There are a lot of people working across all departments – accounting, marketing, operations, customer care and others -- to make this fiber project happen. Everyone across Team Midwest plays an active role in one way or another, and we’re working with a lot of outside contractors specifically on the construction piece. But #TeamFiber does have its own group of employees working full time for you. You may occasionally talk with one or more of them by phone or email, or see them working at your home or business. Click on the photo to go to our website, then hover over each team member to learn a little more about the folks in OUR family who are working so hard to bring solutions to YOUR family!

We’re expecting a good crowd at Wednesday’s Edwardsburg Open House, and you’ll have a chance to meet many of the folks behind the southwest Michigan Rural Broadband Revolution. Stop and see us between 4-8 p.m. at the Jefferson Township Hall!

Take fiber service for a "test drive" at community open house

3:12pm May 28, 2015

Here’s another “sign” that high-speed internet is coming to southwest Michigan! Some of you will see these popping up on your streets or in your neighborhoods. Your turn is coming; we promise!

In the meantime, we have another opportunity for you to help build your zone. On Wednesday, June 10 we are hosting a community open house and inviting wait list and prospective customers to “test drive” the newest, fastest internet service to hit southwest Michigan! Staff will be available at the Jefferson Township Hall, 24725 Jefferson Center Street, Cassopolis, from 4-8 p.m. to answer questions, and we will have technology stations available for you to get a sense of the service experience and determine which speed is right for you.

So how do you use this to build your zone? INVITE! That’s right. If you’ve got friends and neighbors who have not yet signed up in your zone, let them know about this event and bring them along. You can “test drive” together and hopefully get them on board with the southwest Michigan Rural Broadband Revolution.

Please RSVP by Thursday, June 4, and you will be entered into a drawing for an iPad Air! Email your name and service address to nicole.barfell@teammidwest.com or call Nicole at 269-445-1112.

 

While you were sleeping

1:18pm May 20, 2015

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes activity yesterday and last night as we made some necessary changes to our zones and the zone map at our Join The Crowd website. 20 zones became 23 zones. Did you feel the Earth shake as that was happening?

We reconfigured several existing zones so that we could add two additional areas to the 2015 build. We made those changes in response to an opportunity to provide high-speed service to a local school using dollars available through the federal E-Rate program. These funds cover the cost of the build, and this project provides great benefits to the students and families in this school, and the greater community. None of the planned construction for 2015 is impacted by this addition; we’ll just have to work even harder to get it all done!

For some of you, this addition means you have moved into an active zone and will be part of our 3rd/4th quarter 2015 construction. Please watch for communication from us about important next steps so that we can be ready for your service drop construction when the time is right.

If you log in to The Crowd and click on the Zones tab you’ll see the new zones on the map, with the goal information detailed below the map. About 350 members were moved to a new zone as a result of this change, so please take a moment to log in to see if your zone changed. This may impact how you work to build your zone!

Speaking of which: be sure and watch for next week’s update as we offer two exciting new ways that you can build your zone. Stay tuned!

What about southeast Michigan?

1:12pm May 14, 2015

Yesterday was a HUGE day in "The Crowd" as we welcomed more than 400 new members to the #TeamFiber family. Welcome to all of those who have officially signed on for the southwest Michigan Rural Broadband Revolution.

Lots of questions from our southeast Michigan members. We are implementing the fiber infrastructure for our utility communications system in southeast Michigan, but are focusing on the fiber internet service benefit in southwest Michigan first, because there are simply fewer high-speed options available. However, we know that there are pockets in southeast Michigan that also don't have viable solutions. We hear your wishes and frustrations and want to assure you that we are engaging in conversation with other providers in the area about possible partnerships using our fiber infrastructure to extend service. Stay tuned here for more information as those opportunities unfold.

Because we've had so many crowd newcomers, we wanted to remind everyone about how to help build your zone. As we've explained, where we go next with construction is largely driven by the zones with the greatest interest, so we encourage those of you in the post-2015 build period to get the word out to friends and neighbors in your zone. Click on the Zones tab at the top of the website to view your zone and start spreading the word. We have these free Solutions business cards that you can pass out to friends and neighbors. You can talk up the service and leave a reminder that points folks directly to the website for more information. If you'd like a supply of 25 cards, visit our Cass or Paw Paw district service center, or call us at 844-49FIBER.

Kudos to our members in the East Vicksburg/North Mendon zone; they're already 40% to goal! Great work!

While you "patiently" wait ...

12:09pm May 7, 2015

Congratulations #TeamFiber crowd --you are ON IT this week!  Since Tuesday morning more than 100 people have joined “The Crowd.” If you’re one of our new sign-ups, WELCOME! If you’re one of those hustling to get your friends and neighbors signed up and build your zone, GREAT WORK!!  The East Vicksburg/North Mendon Zone officially took the lead over North Cassopolis with 19%, but other zones are also building.

We now have over 800 in the crowd and eagerly awaiting fiber to their home or business, and as of Monday 465 co-op members are installed and able to surf the web at previously unknown speeds!

Calls are flooding our call center everyday – chiefly members wanting to sign up, or members in the crowd who want to know WHEN they will be installed. We know you’ve waited a LONG TIME and are ready for a reliable and affordable solution, and we have a plan to construct 400 miles a year over the next five years. Is it aggressive? Yes! Is it fast enough for those who are waiting. No!

Just remember that this is a very grassroots effort and our members are largely driving the next-step construction plans by building their zones. Each zone that reaches goal will be considered as we determine where we’re going next. Share this update with fellow co-op members in your area and encourage them to Join the Crowd. You can also pass along the Midwest Connections Zone Build, a quick video that walks interested members through the sign up and sharing process. Click on the link or the image above to see how easy it is to encourage others to get busy!

The story of #TeamFiber: YOUR story

12:20pm April 27, 2015

Oops ...

We sent this update last week with the new video about our fiber story. Unfortunately some weren't able to view the video or even SEE a video link. Programming glitch -- sorry about that! It's such a great story that we wanted to shoot it out again. Click on the photo below, or just click this link to go directly to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBlCMo5_v1E.

Have you ever felt like you were on the ground-floor of something HUGE?

We occasionally hear a co-op member talk about the day the lights first came on, and can only imagine how life changing it must have been. Electricity wasn’t a given in the early half of the 20th century, particularly for those in the rural space. But through the collective efforts of those who lived without, rural electric cooperatives were formed to bring power and light.

It’s interesting that we’re living a similar story today with high-speed internet, and it’s your rural electric cooperative that is paving the way on your behalf. There is something huge going on here in southwest Michigan, and we’re all on the ground-floor. Just think, 10 or 20 years from now, as your kids or grandkids are surfing the web, you’ll be able to say, “I remember the day high-speed internet was first installed.” The kids won’t remember life before it. But you will. And you’ll know what a game-changer it was for you, your family, and our greater community.

We produced this video to tell the story of the rural broadband revolution. YOUR story. We welcome your thoughts and comments about what it means to you to be part of this revolution. Sign back in to the crowd at TeamFiber.com and share on the Comments tab, or engage with us on our TeamMidwest or TeamFiber Facebook page.

You’re on the ground-floor of something HUGE. #TeamFiber

On the ground-floor of something HUGE

1:47pm April 24, 2015

Have you ever felt like you were on the ground-floor of something HUGE?

We occasionally hear a co-op member talk about the day the lights first came on, and can only imagine how life changing it must have been. Electricity wasn’t a given in the early half of the 20th century, particularly for those in the rural space. But through the collective efforts of those who lived without, rural electric cooperatives were formed to bring power and light.

It’s interesting that we’re living a similar story today with high-speed internet, and it’s your rural electric cooperative that is paving the way on your behalf. There is something huge going on here in southwest Michigan, and we’re all on the ground-floor. Just think, 10 or 20 years from now, as your kids or grandkids are surfing the web, you’ll be able to say, “I remember the day high-speed internet was first installed.” The kids won’t remember life before it. But you will. And you’ll know what a game-changer it was for you, your family, and our greater community.

We produced this video to tell the story of the rural broadband revolution. YOUR story. We welcome your thoughts and comments about what it means to you to be part of this revolution. Feel free to share on the Comments tab of our TeamFiber website, or on our TeamMidwest or TeamFiber Facebook page.

You’re on the ground-floor of something HUGE. #TeamFiber

Calling cards now available

7:49am April 14, 2015

Facebook and Twitter are blowing up with your comments and enthusiasm about fiber internet. Everyone is excited that it’s coming, and everyone wants to know when!

As we’ve been explaining, the “when” beyond 2015 is largely in your hands. Remember, this is a very grassroots effort and our members are largely driving the next-step construction plans by building their zones. Each zone that reaches goal will be considered as we determine where we’re going next.

Here’s another tool for you. We developed these calling cards to help you spread the word about fiber internet to your friends and neighbors. Now you can talk it up AND leave a reminder that points folks directly to the website so they can get more information and sign up.

The calling cards are free (in packs of 25 at a time) to any member interested in helping spread the word. They are the size of a business card, and available at our Cass or Paw Paw district service center. We’ll also mail out a pack to you upon request. Just email us at info@teammidwestconnections.com or call us at 844-49FIBER.

We’ve got 14 people on the schedule for installs this week! If you’ve already been hooked up, or you’re one of the lucky ones in the 2015 plan, please let us know more about your experience when you’re up and surfing. Share under the Comments section at our Join The Crowd page and take it to the social space. We want to hear from you!

Grassroots at its best

1:21pm April 6, 2015

We had a call on Good Friday from a reporter at Fox 28 who was interested in doing a story on our fiber project.  We haven’t done a major media announcement yet, and were curious how they learned about us. Seems one of their cameramen, also a co-op member, got his letter about service being available and eagerly shared it with his newsroom colleagues! The result is this story that aired last week.

Fox 28 TeamFiber story

It’s a great story, and another great example of how this grassroots effort works -- neighbor telling neighbor and sharing their excitement about this long-awaited service.

Neighbors are really working it in the North Cassopolis zone, where they’re already 14% to goal. There’s activity going on just about everywhere now as you all work to spread the word.

Please feel free to share this update with potential customers to spread the word. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our updates through your own platforms. Very soon we’ll have some “calling cards” available that you can use to spread the word in your neighborhood and community. We’re trying to give you lots of information and tools to help you build your zones. Stay tuned, and keep talking!

Get in the ZONE!

12:59pm March 30, 2015

In less than one week, 318 folks Joined The Crowd. It was fun to sit back and watch the interest pour in after we launched the #TeamFiber campaign!

Some have asked about the zones and what that means. Let’s break that down just a little.

We split our southwest Michigan service area into 20 different geographic zones, primarily by substation. We begin each build at the substation level, so that is the most logical approach to creating campaign zones.

Each zone has a very different make up in terms of number of members living within the territory, which is why we used a take-rate approach to establishing goals. Our take rate goal is 45%. With minimal efforts, we’ve met and exceeded that in many of our previously launched areas. In fact, we hit a 72% take rate in one of those areas!

So no matter where you live, the goal is to get at least 45% of the peeps in your zone to Join The Crowd. Early in the third quarter we will begin planning our 2016 build, and will strongly consider zones that have achieved that goal. Ultimately we’ll build across our entire southwest Michigan territory over the next five years, but if we know the interest is already there in a particular zone then we’ll strongly consider that area with next-step construction plans.

How do you get others to Join The Crowd? Just start talking! Look at the map and figure out who you know in your zone. You can plug in addresses on the home page to determine if someone is eligible (like you did when you signed up), or just zoom in using the map feature. If you’re in the social media space, share the website there. Some folks have even gone door to door to build interest!

 

Bottom line: if you are a Midwest Energy member living in southwest Michigan, we’re coming at some point. However, with this grassroots campaign approach, YOU can help determine where we go next! So get in the ZONE! http://jointhecrowd.teamfiber.com/

 

Welcome to the Crowd!

7:12am March 23, 2015

We’re excited to launch this new site, and can’t wait to see how our members engage at a grassroots level to build interest in their zones. While our 2015 construction plan is fully developed and shown in the green portions of the map, everything beyond 2015 is up for grabs at this point. So if you’ve joined the crowd, we strongly encourage you to spread the word and get your neighbors, friends and family on board. Future construction plans may very well be guided by the zones with the greatest interest. We’re working on our end to build the system, and now need you working to spread the word.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so that you can see the latest and greatest construction updates and other great information.

Great things are in store for Midwest members as we introduce the broadband revolution to southwest Michigan!  Thanks for joining us, and welcome to The Crowd!  

Check out who's already registered!


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Holly Daniels

Union
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Anonymous

Marcellus
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Anonymous

Union
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Harmoney Schulte

Jones
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Anonymous

West Three Rivers
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Jake Mroczek

North Marcellus South Lawton