Lake County, MI (September 25, 2020) – Having high-speed internet access is more important now than ever, and rural Michigan residents can vouch for that. During the late summer months of 2019, Casair, a Mid-Michigan wireless internet provider, rolled out fiber to Lake County in hopes of connecting more rural residents and businesses.
Last year, Connected Nation ran an article recapping its partnership with Casair and discussed how the rollout of new fiber would keep their local businesses and organizations better connected. Since then, Lake County has seen a huge improvement in their internet speeds.
Before Casair got involved, Lake County had one of the state’s lowest percentages of population (less than 3 percent) with access to 25/3 Mbps speeds. But that all changed after receiving Connect America Fundingto expand services into the county. Now almost all of their rural areas receive faster internet speeds.
“For me to be hooked up to fiber, it dramatically increased the feed I had,” said Jane Allison, owner of Baldwin Lumber and Hardware. “Now I am able to do so much more with our business and help many more people.”
Many local businesses in Lake County have benefited from the new internet including Baldwin Lumber and Hardwareand the Ti-Ki Hut located in Chase, Mich. Despite being two very different businesses, they have seen similar improvements in their connectivity over the past year.
“Before they installed the new internet, The Ti-Ki Hut was very dated with its technology,” said Paul Avery, Owner of the Ti-Ki Hut. “Now that we have a better connection, our credit card operations are up-to-date and we are able to do a lot more digital transactions. Before we had to rely on satellites, which were always unpredictable.”
These organizations are now able to maintain a better online presence. Baldwin Lumber and Hardware have always had a website for customers to use, but they have gained most of their attention and new customer base from their Facebook page.
“With the faster internet connection, we can now have a Facebook page and we will get new customers emailing us after seeing our ads on the social media platform,” said Jane Allison.
Aside from using their new internet connection for social media, Lake County organizations used the faster internet to help their business stay afloat during the pandemic. When COVID-19 broke out in the U.S. earlier this year, many businesses had to shut their doors in order to keep employees and customers safe. Unfortunately, this negatively impacted companies, and their owners had to look for new ways to stay in business. This is when the new high-speed internet connection came in handy.
“We had to make many changes when COVID-19 hit our community,” said Allison. “Since we were not allowing customers in the store, we had to solely rely on phone sales, and without the reliable internet connection, there would have been no way to do that. We were also only allowing sales to be done through credit card; without Casair, that would not have been possible.”
“The pandemic has changed the way we do everything,” said Paul Avery. “Especially when it comes to business, everything has to be online now. I am so thankful that’s possible for me and others in Lake County.”
While COVID-19 is still prevalent across Michigan and the U.S., internet providers like Casair are doing what they can to keep all areas online. With an unpredictable future ahead, we must focus on improving the overall quality of life for Americans, and that starts with a great internet connection.
Interested in learning more about Casair and Connected Nation Michigan? To read the original article, click the link here: “At the Speed of Broadband: How a Rural Michigan County Is Improving Its Internet Access”
Below are pictures of the Ti-Ki Hut and Baldwin Lumber and Hardware.
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