Escanaba, Mich. (August 15, 2018) – Connect Michigan, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Connected Nation, worked with Governor Rick Snyder, his staff, and state technology and business leaders to develop a plan to provide universal access to high-speed internet for every Michigan resident, business, region, and community. That plan was unveiled today during an event at Escanaba High School.
“As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life,” the governor said. “There are many regions of Michigan where internet is inaccessible or ineffective, and this plan works to make broadband internet available to Michigan residents in every corner of the state.”
Connect Michigan took part in the Michigan Consortium of Advanced Networks (MCAN), which Gov. Snyder created to help develop a roadmap to guide the state’s goal of ubiquitous broadband access. MCAN gathered input from both public and private entities and held six listening tours with Michiganders before creating the comprehensive plan.
“Our experience in the field has taught us that if you want to expand broadband access, it must be a group effort,” said Eric Frederick, Executive Director of Connect Michigan. “Communities, state policymakers, federal agencies, local residents, and businesses—everyone needs to be involved so we can first understand the issue, then identify solutions and ways to expand high-speed internet access to all areas.”
Connect Michigan has worked with community and county leaders across Michigan for eight years—developing community Technology Action Plans, providing technical assistance, and supporting the ubiquitous access and adoption of broadband. Connect Michigan’s staff not only works and lives in the Great Lakes State but is dedicated to fulfilling Connected Nation’s mission to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand the access, adoption, and use of high-speed (broadband) internet and its related technologies to all people.
“We look forward to providing any assistance Gov. Snyder, his office, and future administrations may need as the state implements this roadmap,” Frederick said. “It’s an important and exciting time for Michiganders. This plan not only means unserved families and businesses will finally get access to the same opportunities many of us already enjoy, but it means we have a comprehensive guidebook that will make it possible to make smarter investments and more effective use of state resources.”
“The release of today’s MCAN report is a major milestone in Michigan’s move to making future-ready its citizens and communities,” said Tom Ferree, Connected Nation Chairman & CEO. “Nationally speaking, the comprehensive nature of the committee’s approach and process itself serve as best practice for other states looking to take charge of their own future, their economies and quality of life.”
Michigan currently ranks 30th in the nation for broadband availability, and more than 380,000 households, in mostly rural areas, do not have access to vital high-speed internet service. Another 2 million households only have access to a single, terrestrial internet service provider. There is approximately $2.5 billion in potential economic opportunities available among these unserved households if this gap is closed.
The broadband roadmap identifies three main areas for improvement: 1) Access to Unserved Areas; 2) Increase Broadband Adoption; and 3) Advance Michigan’s Broadband Ecosystem.
Recommendations include a call for greater investment in broadband to improve community and economic development, establishing a single point of contact within state government, promoting and building awareness for low-cost broadband subscription programs, improving the workforce pool for the telecommunications industry, promoting digital literacy, and creating a permanent broadband commission to advise future governors and the legislature.
The creation of MCAN was a recommendation of the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. The full Roadmap report is available online at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/MCAN_final_report_629873_7.pdf
To learn more about Connect Michigan, visit us at www.connectednation.org/Michigan.
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About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access, adoption, and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies to all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. Connect Michigan is a local subsidiary of CN with staff working and living in Michigan.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
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