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Tilson Brings Internet to Michigan’s Historic Island Communities


In collaboration with a major wireless carrier, Tilson was selected to bring improved cellular coverage to Belle Isle and Mackinac Island, two historic island communities in Michigan.

Belle Isle, a state park located in Detroit, Michigan, attracts millions of visitors each summer and is host to the IndyCar Series Grand Prix. Mackinac Island, located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, is home to a Colonial-era British fort, has been lauded by National Geographic, and preserves its beauty and history by limiting transportation to walking, bicycling, or horse and buggy.


Tilson’s customer, a major wireless carrier, sought to improve coverage and meet growing cellular demand on both Belle Isle and Mackinac Island while still honoring the irreplaceable local character of each island. Faced with unique challenges due to the islands’ user needs, geography, and natural and historic preservation status, this cellular project required an expert design and creative problem solving to be successful.


In response, Tilson collaborated and worked diligently with all jurisdictions to provide a best-in-class network design that minimized impact during the installation process. Tilson worked with the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan to identify acceptable locations for wireless equipment that would preserve the aesthetic and historic qualities of both islands, while delivering improved communication services. Our real estate team leased and permitted numerous small cell nodes capable of supporting 4G and 5G technology on custom poles to provide the densification of the network in high demand areas.

Today, both islands are now ready to provide millions of customers with improved network coverage and reliability while retaining their unique and irreplaceable charm.

Bringing Critical Connectivity to Your Community

Tilson partners with public and private sector community leadership to plan, design, construct, and maintain viable and cost-effective networks that are essential to keeping communities connected.

Learn more about our services or contact us to discuss your specific network deployment needs.


A major wireless carrier


  • Expanding network coverage in a high traffic area while preserving the natural character of the islands

Solutions / Services

  • Network design
  • Leasing and permitting small cell nodes
  • Working closely with municipalities to determine the best locations for wireless equipment

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