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The man who built his own ISP to avoid huge fees is expanding his service

Jared Mauch just received $2.6 million in funding to widen his service to 600 homes.

Illustration picture shows  the installation of optical fiber in a residential area in Ghent, Tuesday 08 February 2022. Proximus called on the government to allocate money to get internet at higher speeds in the rural corners of the country. The company is investing billions to connect at least 70 percent of the country to its new fiber network by 2028. Proximus is currently fully rolling out fiber in various cities. This modern technology makes faster internet possible. The company, which is half government-owned, aims to extend the new cables to at least 4.3 million homes, or at least 70 percent of the network by 2028. For De Clerck, it must then continue to 100 percent. BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE (Photo by JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
Steve Dent
Steve Dent|@stevetdent|August 11, 2022 3:20 AM

Given a choice between settling for pathetically slow internet speeds from AT&T or paying Comcast $50,000 to expand to his rural home, Michigan resident Jared Mauch chose option "C": starting up his own fiber internet service provider. Now, he's expanding his service from about 70 customers to nearly 600 thanks to funding aimed at expanding access to broadband internet, Ars Technica has reported. 

Last year, the US government's Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds allocated $71 million to Michigan's Washtenaw county for infrastructure projects, with a part of that dedicated to broadband expansion. Mauch subsequently won a bid to wire up households "known to be unserved or underserved based on [an] existing survey," according to the RFP.

"They had this gap-filling RFP, and in my own wild stupidity or brilliance, I'm not sure which yet, I bid on the whole project [in my area] and managed to win through that competitive bidding process," he told Ars

He'll now need to expand from 14 to about 52 miles of fiber to complete the project, including at least a couple of homes that require a half mile of fiber for a single house. That'll cost $30,000 for each of those homes, but his installation fees are typically $199.

Customers can choose from 100Mbps up/down internet speeds for $55 per month, or 1Gbps with unlimited data for $79 a month. The contract requires completion by 2026, but he aims to be done by around the end of 2023. He's already hooked up some of the required addresses, issuing a press release after the first was connected in June, with a local commissioner calling it "a transformational moment for our community." 

Running an ISP isn't even Mauch's day job, as he normally works as an Akamai network architect. Still, his service has become a must in the region and he even provides fiber backhaul for a major mobile carrier. "I'm definitely a lot more well-known by all my neighbors... I'm saved in people's cell phones as 'fiber cable guy,'" he said. Check out the full story at Ars Technica

The man who built his own ISP to avoid huge fees is expanding his service