ANN ARBOR — Merit Network Inc., Michigan’s statewide research and education network, announced that it has partnered with TC3, an Adrian-based broadband Internet and telecommunications provider serving Lenawee County, to complete a portion of “last mile” fiber-optic construction around Adrian.

The fiber build extends from Siena Heights University and Jackson Community College in the north to form a ring in the west around Adrian College and its surrounding neighborhoods.

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Merit Network’s portion of the fiber build connects Adrian College, Adrian Public Library, Jackson Community College and Siena Heights University to Merit’s backbone, providing these institutions access to statewide collaboration that they will leverage to cut costs and provide more to their patrons and constituents.

“Working with TC3 achieves a comprehensive approach for Adrian, benefitting all sectors of society and keeping with the spirit of the BTOP grant to improve broadband resources for entire communities,” said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development, Merit Network.

For TC3 the fiber is the foundation for a fiber to the premise project that will serve various types of clients with phone and Internet services exceeding in performance and quality what is currently available in the area. The new fiber optic lines will make possible the delivery of multiple telephone lines and broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps over single circuits. The build’s first users will be brought onto the network over the next few months.

Said Joseph Mattausch, president of TC3: “I believe this is a fine example of how both public and private interests can come together and produce something that benefits the community at large.”

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The fiber network announced Wednesday builds on the foundation created by Merit’s Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Healthcare – Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative, which will create 2,287 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure in rural and underserved areas throughout Michigan and provide backhaul to key interconnection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. REACH-3MC wa funded by grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), better known as the federal stimulus.

Led by Merit, REACH-3MC constructs advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan. In the process, Merit connects community anchor institutions (schools, libraries, health care, government, public safety) by way of “laterals,” or spurs, from the mainline.

TC3, a REACH-3MC sub-recipient, has partnered with Merit on the construction of “laterals” to take the next step of expanding the REACH-3MC backbone to neighborhoods, businesses, educational institutions, and municipalities in Adrian. The full implementation of the “Fiber To The” home or business, or FTTX, “last mile” network in Adrian will likely take years, but many residents and businesses will benefit within months.

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities, owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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TC3 currently has 6,000 active customers, including major municipalities, enterprises, and businesses in Lenawee County. More at