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In 1997, voters in the City of Coldwater were faced with high cable television rates, limited channels, and poor service. Community members voted to give the City authorization to issue $4.5 million dollars in revenue bonds. This bond was used to build a brand new Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) network for the City. The HFC network would be used to provide a competitive cable television service, high-speed internet service, data transport services, and a competitive dial tone for local voice service.
The HFC network was constructed in 1998 and in a short time the Library, City Offices, County Offices, Sheriff’s Department, Police and Fire Services, CBPU Offices, and a number of businesses began using the new fiber system. The Coldwater Board of Public Utilities electric department would use the network for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) functions, reactive power control and distribution feeder monitoring, and remote meter reading. The water and sewer departments would use the network to replace leased telephone lines for monitoring and control circuits, and all of the CBPU and City departments would use it to network their computers. By the end of 1998, high-speed Internet service was available to all residents and the City of Coldwater became one of the most wired cities in the country.
The citizens of the community have benefited greatly from the competitive telecommunications system they voted in. Shortly after the build (as expected), the other cable television provider in Coldwater eliminated the monthly fee for additional outlets, eliminated the franchise fee pass through, added additional channels, and lowered their rates. So even if community members opt not to switch to the Municipal system, they still save money and their dollars stay in the community longer. This is a great benefit to local area businesses and the community as a whole. Since August of 1998, it is estimated that Coldwater consumers have saved approximately six million dollars due to the competition from entertainment services alone.
The network, as it exists today, is a magnificent asset to the City. Our customer base remains stable and we are confident that new projects will continue to be successful. Throughout the years the HFC network has connected the hospitals, schools, and library so they can communicate directly, provide video arraignment services for the sheriff’s department and the courthouse, connected all Coldwater offices, as well as numerous other business to the Internet and to each other. Our network and help desk support services are doing very well as we work with a number of other communities assisting them with their IT needs.
The CBPU is proud to announce that as of August 1st, 2017 the last bond payment has been made and the bond debt has been cleared. For customers this means improvements can be made towards their telecom infrastructure. This will allow for technology advancements such as faster Internet service and an upgraded cable system in the near future for Coldwater residents to enjoy.