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County supports second fiber proposal

Cook County Commissioners have gone on record in support of a second proposal to bring fiber optic service to local residents. They are already on record supporting a grant proposal from Arrowhead Electric Cooperative. On Tuesday commissioners agreed to write a letter in support of Northeast Service Cooperative’s application.

The service cooperative has received a “Middle Mile” grant of $21,749,110 and a loan of an additional $21,749,110. Essentially, the grant provides for a fiber highway connecting various communities in the Northeast. The second round grant supported by the county is for what is called “Last Mile” funding that would provide for the extension of fiber optic service from the trunk line to individual homes and businesses.

According to the county’s information technician, Danna MacKenzie, the Broadband Initiative Committee and Arrowhead Electric are both in favor of having a second grant in the mix. The two applications have different elements, and provide two good models for the government to choose from, she said.

Northeast Service Cooperative has been in existence since the 1970s and provides shared services, resources, networking and technical expertise to regional schools and governments. Among many services, they act as a regional data and accounting center for schools and provide them with internet server technology.