Tuscola County to benefit from $14.6M in federal funding toward the expansion of broadband access
Tuscola County, Michigan (July 26, 2021) – Connected Nation Michigan (CN Michigan) has been working with Tuscola County leaders to plan for and expand high-speed internet throughout the county. An action plan was developed following a county-wide broadband survey in which responses were gathered from 663 residents, 24 businesses and other local organizations. Surveys were completed between February 2021 and April 2021.
Key findings from the surveys include:
- 78% of households currently subscribe to a fixed broadband service (does not include mobile and satellite service).
- County residents pay on average $69.75 per month for service (businesses pay $81.72/month).
- Household download speeds are about 35% slower in Tuscola County vs. other surveyed communities.
- 71% of county residents telework at least one day/week.
“Members of the Tuscola County Steering Committee and I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in our survey,” said Steve Erickson, Executive Director of the Tuscola Economic Development Corporation. “We also thank the Connect Michigan staff for their input with the entire process. These survey results will be beneficial to local units of government and others on deciding on the best way to proceed with improvements throughout Tuscola County.”
One major development that occurred during the course of this work was the commitment of $14.6 million in federal broadband funding for Tuscola County through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). This significant investment will help deliver 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps broadband service to nearly 9,000 households and businesses in Tuscola County over the next six years. Thumb Electric, Mercury Broadband, CenturyLink and Atlantic Engineering Group (AEG) will be the participating broadband providers and investors in this initiative.
“For the past 10 years, Connected Nation Michigan has been working with local communities to help close the Digital Divide. Each county’s broadband success relies on the leadership, hard work and dedication of the people involved in this effort. Tuscola County now has a plan and some substantial actions in the works that will help expand broadband access for local residents and businesses,” said Connected Nation Michigan Broadband Solution Manager Dan Manning.
The following recommendations have been made for improving broadband access and adoption in Tuscola County:
- Identify and prioritize specific areas in need of service improvements based on broadband survey findings
- Work with identified RDOF providers to ease, accelerate and maximize their broadband expansion across the county
- Work with local broadband providers to identify and address other areas in need of service
- Evaluate and develop public-private partnerships to deploy broadband service
- Promote low-cost broadband service offerings for vulnerable populations
To view the results of the Tuscola County broadband surveys, visit: http://myconnectedcommunity.org/tuscola-county
To learn more about the Connected Community Engagement Program visit: https://connectednation.org/connect-my-community/
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About Connected Nation Michigan: CN Michigan is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.