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Reliable broadband access unreachable for many Michigan businesses

Berrien Springs, Michigan (March 24, 2023) — Last week, Connected Nation’s Director of Research Development, Chris McGovern, highlighted the gaps in high-speed internet service available to Michigan businesses. The study, shared for the first time on March 17 at the 2023 conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, shows that businesses (just like households) in rural parts of the state have fewer options when it comes to accessing high-speed internet service.

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Figure 1

“Businesses need fast internet service to compete in the global market. Nearly all respondents in our recent survey (97%) said they use the internet to learn about local businesses, and 70% of buyers said they will go to a store based on what they find online,” McGovern said according to Local SEO Facts. “That means without an online presence, many small businesses won’t be seen.”

The new research shows that for many Michigan businesses, accessing fast, reliable internet service isn’t an option. Statewide, more than 1 out of 4 Michigan businesses (25.65%) don’t have access to fixed broadband at speeds required by even the smallest business establishment (100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream). Worse still, more than 3 out of 4 Michigan businesses (26.67%) don’t have access to fixed terrestrial business internet service at gigabit speeds, which are needed in many business situations where large files are being transferred or speed is critical for day-to-day operations.

Michigan businesses that can access these high-speed internet connections tend to be in the southern portion of the state and near larger cities, while rural counties (particularly in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) are less likely to have access to those faster connections, putting them at a disadvantage (See Figure 1). The result is that rural small businesses, already facing challenges due to their more remote locations, must struggle even harder.

This research is part of Connected Nation’s efforts to shed light on challenges that face Americans as they try to access and subscribe to broadband service. You can stay informed of our work on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


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About the Author: Chris McGovern is the Connected Nation Director of Research Development. Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.