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Beaver Island Broadband in 2007-2008: Yes!

How good is TDS' Beaver Island DSL — Simply Amazing!
Thank you TDS!

March 15, 2008

Modems are now starting to arrive on the Island from orders placed in the past couple of weeks and accounts going online at broadband speed! How is it? No comparison to anything else ever available here outside of town (other than $1000/month T1s)

Beaver Island Broadband DSL performance
Beaver Island Broadband DSL performance

TDS deserves a huge thank you for providing such an amazing service! Nicely done!

Beaver Island Broadband Plans & Pricing »

Coverage Areas

TDS Telecom website »


TDS Announces: DSL is now available

March 11, 2008

“DSL is now available on Beaver Island,” announces Chad Mix, market manager for TDS. “We’re so excited to bring this much-anticipated service to the residents and businesses on Beaver Island. We appreciate everyone’s patience and hope you’ll enjoy TDS’ new high-speed Internet service.”

As was previously reported, TDS will offer two levels of residential DSL service on Beaver Island: 1.5Mb and 3Mb for $39.95 and $49.95, respectively, per month. Businesses can select speeds of 768Kb, 1.5Mb or 3Mb ranging from $49 – $99/month.

Island Airways will be one of the first customer’s on Beaver Island to get service, according to Mix.

"Island Airways is very excited to be TDS' first customer. With TDS, we know we are getting a fast and very cost effective solution," says Paul Welke, owner of Island Airways.

For more information, or to sign up for TDS’ high-speed Internet service, call TDS at 888-CALL-TDS (888-225-5837).

# # #

TDS Telecom, a growing national company headquartered in Madison, Wis., brings high-quality, locally based telecommunications services to hundreds of rural and suburban communities across the United States. The company, along with its subsidiary TDS Metrocom, provides service for more than 1.2 million access line equivalents. Visit for more information.

TDS Telecom is part of the Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (AMEX: TDS) family of companies. TDS is a diversified telecommunications corporation founded in 1969. Through its strategic business units, U.S. Cellular (AMEX: USM) and TDS Telecom, TDS operates primarily by providing wireless and local telecommunications service. The company currently employs approximately 11,600 people and serves approximately 6.4 million customers in 36 states.


Beaver Island Residential & Business DSL Broadband Plans

Reprinted from the March 2008 Beacon

As we go to press, the on-Island work has been completed and sign-ups are now being accepted for Beaver Island DSL broadband! (coverage areas listed in the December 2007 Beacon)

Actiontec 701

Residential DSL’ is available in two plans:

$39.95/month for 1.5 Mbps down / 512 kbps up, or

$49.95/month for 3.0 Mbps down / 512 kbps up.

There is no setup fee, but the modem costs $12.95 to ship to the Island. To order call 1-888-CALL-TDS.

Actiontec 701

Business DSL’ is available in three plans:

$49/month for 768kbps down / 512 kbps up,

$69/month for 1.5 Mbps down / 512 kbps up,

or $99/month for 3.0 Mbps down / 512 kbps up,

These prices are for 2-year contracts (or $10 more per month if you only want to sign a 1-year contract).There is a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. To sign up for business broadband service: 1(800) 233-5605 ext 3561 or

Businesses must sign up for business-DSL but residential numbers can sign up either for residential or business DSL. The business plans offer (a) faster response in “minutes or hours” in case of any technical problem, or even a lightning strike taking out a modem on the customer’s end, (b) priority tech support and remote diagnostics, (c) a sleeker looking modem with wireless router built-in, (d) an account rep to streamline signup, and (e) a number of bundled items. Static IP addresses are available too.
Most if not all businesses on the Island have already received a call, but if not, contact Brandon McDonald, Account Executive, TDS Telecom, for full details and answers to questions, or to sign up for business broadband service: 1(800) 233-5605 ext 3561 or

And next time you see a TDS employee, be sure to say thanks for all the work they’ve put in to bring this about!


TDS updates DSL deployment timeline

Jan. 11, 2008

For more information contact:
Cindy Tomlinson
Associate Manager-Public Relations

In mid-February TDS plans to begin delivering its high-speed Internet service to residents and businesses on Beaver Island. Currently, TDS is planning to offer two levels of DSL service: 1.5Mb and 3Mb for $39.95 and $49.95, respectively, per month.

According to Chad Mix, market manager for TDS, the engineering phase has gone extremely well. “Because the engineering went so smoothly, we’ve been able to firm up our deployment timeline. We’ve also identified likely speeds and pricing information – something we received a lot of questions about after our initial announcement.”

Currently, TDS is in the final test phases – and nearly ready to begin delivering this much-anticipated service to many parts of the Island. “We’re very excited and hope that people enjoy their fast connection to the world,” Mix says.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Lines) — also known as high-speed Internet — allows subscribers to be on the phone and the net at the same time. When compared to dial-up, DSL also offers quicker downloads, faster speeds, and a better overall Internet experience.

Barring any unforeseen issues, residents should be able to sign-up in the next few weeks, says Mix who again cautions that because DSL is a distance-sensitive technology, it may not be available to all TDS Telecom customers immediately.

For more information, call TDS at 888-CALL-TDS.

Initial Beaver Island TDS DSL Coverage & Distance Predictions

November 30, 2007

The provisional areas to be covered initially by TDS DSL will likely include:

  • St. James, the Port St. James area including Donegal Bay,
  • Carlisle Road,
  • Barney’s Lake Road North from ~27996 to Four Corners,
  • King’s Highway,
  • Paid een Og’s Road, and
  • East Side Drive from ~31080 north to Four Corners (including roads originating from East Side Drive between these points.)

Speeds, Island DSL pricing, and any future coverage are not yet known.


Central Solutions' Broadband Towers arrive on Island

November 17, 2007

The barge has now arrived with three 180' towers on semi trailers. Weather will play a role as the Island got its first dusting of snow yesterday signaling the arrival of winter soon, but things are looking good. After all the talk of broadband reaching beyond the pavement these many years, it's wonderful that the steel has finally arrived to get this off the ground at last. Kudos to all involved.

TDS to deliver broadband on Beaver Island in early 2008

November 16, 2007

For more information contact:
Cindy Tomlinson
Associate Manager-Public Relations

DSL Coming Soon to Beaver Island
High-speed Internet service will soon be available to Beaver Island residents, according to TDS Telecom. DSL (Digital Subscriber Lines), which is high-speed Internet, allows you to be on the phone and the net at the same time.

“We’re excited at the prospect of offering DSL in the very near future here on Beaver Island,” says Chad Mix, market manager for TDS Telecom. ”We know customers have been waiting for DSL and we are happy to finally be able to get it to them. At TDS we take pride in delighting our customers. With what we’ve heard from customers, offering DSL will certainly be a delight.”

According to Mix, TDS is currently in the engineering phase. He says that if everything goes according to plan, TDS hopes to begin offering it to residents and businesses during the first part of 2008.

DSL is a distance-sensitive technology, Mix cautions. Therefore, it may not be available to all TDS Telecom customers initially.

Zoning Changes needed for 180' tower construction now approved

November 14, 2007

At their respective November Township Board Meetings, both Peaine and St. James townships have now re-approved the previously approved zoning ordinance admendments now that they have also gone through the Charlevoix County level. Construction of the three 180' broadband Internet towers may now proceed now that zoning does not block them as it did previously.

Central Solutions is moving forward with plans to offer high-speed service to the entire Island.

November 1, 2007

Over the next few months, tower construction will begin on three different sites by a private entity to help support the efforts of our project. Central Solutions will lease space on those towers to provide services to customers Island-wide.

In the coming months new plans for services will be available. Changes to pricing for service and equipment are being made due to economic factors and increased infrastructure costs.

Central Solutions has now added a toll-free number for customer support. We ask that you please use
1-866-331-2637 for communication to our office. The local number is still in effect; however, the office hours are changing due to the change of season.

The local office will only be staffed on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to noon until early spring. Current and future customers can use the toll-free number to receive support, sign-up for service, or ask billing questions.

We look forward in continuing to service the community of Beaver Island.

–Brian Tort

'News of the Net'

June 15, 2007

Existing zoning restrictions and the long, slow process necessary to update the zoning ordinance have stalled tower construction necessary to reach out of town. At this point, it appears it will take longer than mid-summer to update the zoning ordinance, so those out of town will have to wait a while longer for any low-latency broadband, possibly only until later this year, or possibly longer still (but while it can be frustrating at times, the slow rate of change is what we all love about the Island too!) Investment money is also still being sought which may or may not be necessary to complete the larger-area project, so it appears we are once again at "a crossroads." In-town however, progress continues along with glitches being worked out and the system getting better by the week. The library still offers a free broadband hotspot, but visitors should very much enjoy the larger full-town internet-access roaming area. And wherever you are, don't hesitate to call (517) 676-4787 or e-mail to express your interest. At the bottom of the homepage all those in or near town can also signup online!


Central Solutions, Inc. now signing up broadband customers, in town

May 1, 2007

From the May Beacon:

current Beaver Island wireless coverage area

As we go to print, anyone in town now has the option to sign up and receive broadband wireless service from Central Solutions, Inc.!

A wireless link connects the main office at the Eager Beaver on the Highway to the 40' tower (left) at the Deputy/DNR building on the harbor, from which point the signal is distributed to town. Anyone can also sign up for mobile wifi access in the new “whole town” hotspot with any wireless-capable notebook computer, though further testing as the trees leaf out and also on the water will lead to refinements in the month to come.

Currently, a T1 feeds the project; plans are getting underway to position a tower in the Greene’s Lake area which will be able to aim over the trees to reach the mainland. This will provide ample and economical bandwidth as the project expands and also service to customers, a major milestone for the Island as the first low-latency local broadband to reach out of town.

Call (517) 676-4787 or e-mail to sign up.

Central Solutions, Inc. holds very positive town meeting

January 18, 2007

The joint township and public meeting with Central Solutions, Inc. was a very positive experience, with Brian Tort of NG Wireless and a representative from both Quality Independent Communications (QUIC), the contractor, and from Proxim Wireless, the equipment vendor, outlining the plan-to-date and their desire for this to be a strongly community-based project in order to get economic tower and radio placements and approvals to make it all happen. Brian explained that instead of going under the name NGWireless, he will now be operating the project under his 2-year old company Central Solutions, Inc. At this point they are looking to secure tower locations, community support, and funding and seek a 60% take rate to achieve an 18-month return on investment. Brian stressed that theirs will be a telco-grade network that "will work just as you expect your telephone to have a dialtone every time you pick it up." The initial promise of availability by April of 2007 has been pushed back to "before the snow falls this winter of 2007" for whole-Island coverage, but the project will start in phases to give them "the flexibility" to incrementally choose the best equipment and strategy for covering each area, provisionally starting again with town this winter/spring and then working around the Island down to the west side and around. An earlier report that NGWireless was looking at all line-of-sight was said to be incorrect: their equipment will be "near line of sight" (the current test signal from the Eager Beaver is reaching the 25 mph sign on the highway and almost to the golf course on the east side) and will also use a range of frequencies including 2.4 Ghz and 900 Mhz.

Provisional plans include:

320/320 Kbps: $38.95 per month or $28.95/month with a 12-month contract.
512/512 Kbps: $48.95 per month or $38.95/month with a 12-month contract.
768/768 Kbps: $58.95 per month or $48.95/month with a 12-month contract.
1Mbps/1 Mbps: $88.95 per month or $78.95/month with a 12-month contract.
+ $180 or $15/month for 12 months for installation

Small / Home Office:
(4 IP devices or less)
512/512 Kbps: $69.95 per month or $63.60/month with a 12-month contract.
768/768 Kbps: $82.45 per month or $74.95/month with a 12-month contract.
1Mbps/1 Mbps: $104.95 per month or $95.40/month with a 12-month contract.
+ $210 or $17.50/month for 12 months for installation

(5 IP devices or more)
512/512 Kbps: $115.95 per month or $100.80/month with a 12-month contract.
768/768 Kbps: $140.95 per month or $122.60/month with a 12-month contract.
1Mbps/1 Mbps: $174.95 per month or $152.10/month with a 12-month contract.
+ $264 or $22/month for 12 months for installation

Plans also include roaming-only access for hot spots (e.g. the harbor -- the plans above also include a free roaming account for hotspot access points), pay as you go service for rental cottages, hotel guests, or boaters in the harbor, and dedicated Internet access at $400/month for a 768/768 Kbps dedicated plan or $800/month for a 1.5 / 1.5 Mbps plan (equivalent to a T1 and contracted bandwidth guaranteed to always be available, unlike shared plans where bandwidth may be somewhat less than advertised during peak usage times.)

A survey was distributed to gauge interest in this plan and for use funding it - please be sure to complete the survey or contact Brian Tort at 517.676.4787 if you did not get one to fill out.

Computer and Network Solutions / OnWeb90 Island site evaluations and planning continue

January 08, 2007

OnWeb90 again arrived on Beaver Island and spent January 6th and 7th continuing to survey Island sites including both easy clusters and those remote homes deep within the beautiful tall woods. OnWeb90 was very positive about meeting the challenge of delivering broadband to the most difficult-to-reach Island sites utilizing a combination of their unique NLOS radio design (which allows their system to cut through up to 1/4 mile of trees when necessary and also deliver speeds significantly greater than the competition) and creative site solutions (such as mounting a mast on the top of the tallest tree at a customer's location when required to greatly reduce cost, time, and visibility - "it may sound like it wouldn't work, but it does. We've done it before, and it will stand the test of time") They also evaluated the existing tower that they plan as their primary backhaul link to the mainland with a tower climb. OnWeb90 was very positive about delivering wireless broadband to the Island quickly and efficiently with a realistic-scale and very doable plan and an investment of their own money to do so.

Tentative pricing at this point will be:

$35.00 / month for 1.5 Mbps down/256 kbps up
$45.00 / month for 3.0 Mbps down/512 kbps up
$55.00 / month for 5.0 Mbps down/768 kbps up

Business (includes static public ip addresses and multiple e-mail accounts)
$125.00 / month for 1.5Mbps Symmetrical (Single T1)
$225.00 / month for 3.0Mbps Symmetrical (Two Bonded T1's)

Installation costs:
$100.00 for 2.4Ghz installs
$175.00 for 900 Mhz installs
These install fees can be spread out over a period of a contractual agreement for service.

NGWireless calls Joint Township Broadband Meeting on January 17th

January 07, 2007

NGWireless has requested a Joint Township Meeting on January 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Peaine Township Hall (bad weather date: January 18th) to discuss their plan before both townships and to further gauge public needs.

Wireless Broadband Plans for Spring 2007

After visiting the Island in October, Hudsonville, MI OnWeb90 is planning to provide Beaver with wireless broadband Internet. Plans include 1500 kbps down/256 kbps up, 3000/512, and 5000/768 residential options, as well as 1.5 mbps/1.5 mbps and 3.0/3.0 commercial plans. “While keeping the pristine beauty of the Island intact, OnWeb90 is bringing them a complete Wireless network, including Voice-Over-IP service to the entire island” says Nick Welsheimer,

Mason, MI NGWirless, Inc., directed by Brian Tort, also has expressed interest in providing wireless broadband for Beaver Island with a visit on November 15th and mailings to all box holders. With an Island connection, NGWirless, Inc. pledges “Internet access to benefit year-round residents and travelers to the Island, with service to be available by April 1, 2007,” according to

Previous Island Broadband News: Beaver Island Satellite Internet through WildBlue