Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.

Grosse Pointe Woods grants right of way permission for fiber network

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 18, 2020

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Woods City Council has granted permission for the Rocket Fiber company to install its fiber in the city for a proposed high-speed fiber network.

While the council voted to sign the permit, the council has not approved the use of the high-speed fiber network in Grosse Pointe Woods.

At its Jan. 27 meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve the METRO Act Right of Way Telecommunications Permit submitted by Rocket Fiber, and to authorize City Administrator Bruce Smith to sign the permit.

METRO, which stands for Metropolitan Extension Telecommunication Rights-of-Way Oversight, was created to help telecommunication providers to cut through red tape and obtain permits without having to pay big fees or endure delays. The METRO Act agenda item was solely to run fiber through Grosse Pointe Woods.  

“It’s really just for them to come through and lay the fiber — some in the air and some of it underground is what we approved. This was a required vote by the state,” Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Pro Tem Arthur Bryant said. “We were asked to agree to the routing. They are laying their fiber. (We’re) agreeing you may come through (the) property, but we are not joining the network. It’s connecting all the schools.”

Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Gary Niehaus spearheaded a consortium initiative to get all five Grosse Pointes on board, as well as Harper Woods. The Grosse Pointe Public Library is not joining the Rocket Fiber high-speed network at this time, but will consider it in the future.

According to Niehaus, however, no cites joined the consortium. GPPSS is building the GP High Speed Fiber Network, which is designed to provide a larger bandwidth that can move data much faster than an internet connection with a lower bandwidth.

Rocket Fiber is a Michigan-based company that says it delivers multi-gigabit internet and connectivity solutions for businesses and residences. The internet service provider is dedicated to bringing gigabit internet to residents and businesses in Detroit and beyond.

Because Grosse Pointe Woods officials feel that bylaws about how the consortium would operate have not been made clear, they opted out of the program. Cost also was a factor.

“We are not part of it,” Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert Novitke said. “We never got to that point. We wanted to see a proposal agreement between all of the interested parties. … That never occurred. We never saw a firmed-up agreement. There were a bunch of questions. A number of items had to be addressed.”

With a fiber network, light travels down a fiber-optic cable. Some of the GPPSS wiring will be installed on telephone poles, while other wiring will be installed underground.

“Fiber optic is a glass cable and it carries light. There are a certain number of strands in the cable,” Bryant said. “It’s on poles and then in hidden areas when they go underground.”

There are two parts of fiber-optic points of entry/exit ports into and out of Grosse Pointe Woods: near Moross and Mack, and Kercheval at Moross. According to city documents, the wiring in Grosse Pointe Woods will go up one side of Mack Avenue, loop around at Vernier Road and then continue on the other side of Mack.

For example, there are two underground ports to be connected at Parcells Middle School. There’s also an underground port at Mason Elementary School on Vernier Road.