The Federal Communications Commission has authorized nearly $33 million to expand broadband access to rural communities in Michigan over the next 10 years. The money will cover 21,073 homes and businesses.
Mark Wigfield, spokesman for the FCC, says making sure rural communities can be economically competitive is a priority.
“The costs are high in rural areas of deploying it because you have more sparse populations, so you have many miles of wire and few customers to pay for it,” he says.
The program has authorized a total of $1.4 billion to 45 states this year, as part of phase two of the FCC’s Connect America Fund.
Internet service providers Crystal Automation Systems, Mercury Wireless Indiana and the Midwest Energy Cooperative were funding recipients in Michigan.
Wigfield said the program is exclusively for expanding fixed wireless internet; that's internet that requires cables and fixed hotspots and don't use satellites.
“Kids need it to do homework, you shop online, many of us find jobs online, we communicate and find entertainment online,” he says. “All the opportunities of the modern world are online. So the goal of this service is really to ensure that everybody has access to internet service.”