(FOX 2) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a $12.7 million initiative that will expand broadband infrastructure statewide to increase high-speed internet.
“In today’s society, the fastest way to create an even playing field for all is access to high-speed internet,” said Gov. Whitmer. “These broadband internet projects, along with additional infrastructure initiatives we are undertaking, will provide underserved communities in Michigan with high-speed internet service. This critical service is no longer a luxury but is a necessity that allows every Michigander to get a quality education and compete in the global economy.”
Michiganders who lack access to broadband or cannot afford a home broadband connection are unable to participate in telehealth, virtual learning, telework, civic engagement, and many other activities those who are connected are able to use every day.
Today, approximately 1,243,339 Michigan households do not have a permanent fixed broadband connection at home resulting in $1.8B to $2.7B in potential economic benefit left unrealized among disconnected households.
The broadband projects announced were selected through the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program. The $12.7 million in awards are estimated to generate between $15.7 and $23.1 million in annual economic benefits to consumers.
These projects will extend access to over 10,900 households, businesses, and community anchor institutions (CAI) in Michigan.
All projects have committed to closing the internet access divide and provide digital literacy training materials to residents and businesses in their proposed service area, and work with local CAIs and foundations to host events to promote e-learning, job, and workforce training.
Recommendations for the second round of CMIC grant awards will be announced this month, providing another $5.3 million towards further infrastructure expansion across the state.