The Next Evolution of Connect Michigan: Providing Solutions to Closing the State’s Digital Divide

Lansing, MI. (May 1, 2018) – Connect Michigan is making it easier for residents, business owners, farmers, and lawmakers to understand the challenges and solutions to expanding high-speed internet and its related technologies to all people across the state. The nonprofit, a local subsidiary of Connected Nation, has just launched a new and improved website featuring, among other things, community resources, broadband data and solutions, and a look at the action plans so far developed in cities and counties across Michigan.

“We’ve been on the ground in Michigan for eight years now,” said Eric Frederick, Executive Director of Connect Michigan. “During that time, we’ve developed Technology Action Plans for both large and small communities—identifying challenges and solutions to expanding broadband (high-speed internet) specific to their area and needs. Now, we’re very excited to support what Governor Rick Snyder is doing on an even larger scale. He recently formed the Michigan Consortium of Advanced Networks (MCAN), which will develop a comprehensive roadmap to improve access to broadband services to all people in our state.”

Connect Michigan is providing support and guidance for MCAN by working with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to develop a state broadband roadmap. This will make it possible for the state to identify areas of need and opportunities and provide community support and planning where it would be most effective.

“Ensuring all Michiganders have access to secure, reliable, and affordable broadband services is an important step in our work to maximize Michigan’s momentum long into the future,” Gov. Snyder said in a January 29 release announcement about MCAN. “Connectivity is a critical component for economic development, academic growth, and stronger communities—particularly rural communities.”

“What Governor Snyder is doing now will help families and businesses across the Great Lakes State for years to come. The internet is no longer a privilege, it’s a necessity in our modern world,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO of Connected Nation.  “Without good internet access, you can’t apply for a job. Your children can’t do their homework assignments. You can’t access your health records, start a new company, or connect with loved ones. At Connected Nation, we are constantly looking to become more effective in bringing access to all people and their communities.”

Connect Michigan has partnered with the Michigan Public Service Commission since 2010 and Frederick, along with several other staff members, live and work in the cities and neighborhoods they are helping. This work is focused on finding more people access and leveraging the digital opportunities that can improve their lives, their businesses, and their communities.

“Since 2010, we’ve worked in 54 of Michigan’s 83 counties involving thousands of stakeholders who are directly impacted by our efforts to expand access, adoption, and use of broadband,” Frederick said. “We’ve come a long way in connecting more of our state, but more work needs to be done, and MCAN is a big step in the right direction toward helping all our families, kids, businesses, farmers, and others become part of a digital world.”

“We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. That’s our mantra,” said Ferree. “Our staff will continue to work tirelessly and evolve as needed until the Digital Divide is closed and no family, small business, farmer, or child is left without access to the opportunities many of us already enjoy.”

On the new website, visitors will find a wide range of resources and ways to access Connected Nation’s experts to help small towns, cities, counties, regions, states, and federal organizations better identify ways to expand broadband to include all people.

Those resources can be found at connectednation.org/Michigan and include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • County-level Technology Action Plans specific to each community;
  • An interactive tool to track progress and challenges in your area;
  • Access to Digital Works, a workforce development program that provides digital job training and placements for individuals, employers, and communities;
  • Access to the Connected Community Engagement Program (ConnectedSM) which has helped 300+ communities across the U.S.;
  • Better broadband mapping services to encourage smarter investment when planning infrastructure expansion; and
  • Form 477 Data Collection for providers to help meet the requirements put in place by the Federal Communications Commission.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Denson, Communications Manager
(502) 341-2024
[email protected]

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Connected Nation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that develops and implements strategies to close digital equity gaps and improve digital skills in communities across the United States. Connect Michigan is a local subsidiary of Connected Nation.

Our company mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand the access, adoption, and use of broadband (high-speed internet) to all people. We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

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