NewsRegionWashtenaw County

Fed up with $50k quote for rural internet access, Washtenaw County man installed it himself

Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 06, 2022

LODI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — In a rural community just outside Ann Arbor, homes are separated by the farms that feed America. But for major cable or broadband corporations, the distance between those homes isn’t seen as a source of sustenance, but a cost that destroys profit margin targets unless they pass on that cost.

“The craziest quote I got was from Comcast. Because the closest connection point they had was 5 miles away, so it was $15,000,” said Kevin Diuble, Co-Owner Diuble Equipment.

Imagine trying to run a business selling equipment from all over the country, even all over the world, without high-speed internet. That is what Diuble Equipment was doing in Lodi Township just outside Ann Arbor, until one man changed everything.

“Instead of paying someone else to bring it I said, Why not me?” asked Jared Mauch.

And why not Jared Mauch? He says he was angry he got a $50,000 quote for high-speed internet. While at first he just wanted Comcast high-speed internet so he could work remotely, he is a network architect with know-how. He figured out what he would need. He priced out the costs. Then he approached neighbors.

“Jared did just an amazing job. He reached out to the neighborhood and then the neighborhood basically talked,” said Nancy Yalonen.

Think about this. On Haab where Yalonen lives, probably as on your street, neighbors have opinions. Jared went neighbor by neighbor working out an affordable plan.

“I mean that is a special person, who would take their time to do things for others that would have this much benefit. I don’t know how to explain how thankful we are,” she said.

In May, Jared won a federal contract for $2.6 million to fund extending his network to more than 400 addresses in rural Washtenaw County.

“The money I was awarded is part of a goal to make sure there are no gaps out here,” said Mauch.

“When we did a study in December of 2020, we found over 8,000 homes in Washtenaw County with no access to high-speed internet,” said Chris Scharrer, Founder & CEO of DCS Technology Design.

DCS is helping communities determine where infrastructure is needed so they can qualify for government funding aimed at closing the digital divide. He says much more needs to be done to change lives like Jared’s service has.

“I can Zoom with relatives. I can do medical visits from my home that I couldn’t before,” said Yalonen.

“It just makes everything simpler and easier for you,” said Diuble.

“This area is worth it. We deserve to have the same level of access as someone in a big city,” said Mauch.