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high-speed internet

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U.S. Department of Education

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that almost every school in Michigan has access to reliable, high-speed internet service.

She says there are still 10 school districts, mostly in rural areas, that don’t have high-speed internet in every classroom.

broadband internet wires
Alex Tihonov / Adobe Stock

The state is offering $20 million in grants to encourage internet companies to provide high-speed service to rural parts of Michigan. Pam Matelski directs the grant program. She says there are pockets all across the state that still don’t have high-speed service. She says that affects schools, agriculture, businesses, and health care in rural areas.

Kevin Cronin

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer says that Benton Harbor Area Schools have until June 14 to submit a plan to keep their high school open. If not, the state could choose to dissolve the entire district. Plus, Northern Michigan University is working to provide affordable Internet access to students in need. 

More and more school work is being done online, but some students across the country are falling behind their peers because they don’t have internet at home.

Flickr User Justin Marty / Flickr

Microsoft Corporation and a rural broadband company want to bring broadband internet access to more people living in remote parts of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Microsoft is collaborating with Packerland Broadband, based in Iron Mountain, Michigan, on an initiative to extend broadband internet service to more than 80,000 people mostly in northeast Wisconsin, but also across the Upper Peninsula.

Flickr User Justin Marty / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder kicked off his week of daily announcements Monday with a focus on broadband internet access. During the State of the State, Snyder said he would make a new announcement about infrastructure and the environment every day this week.

farm field
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Michigan U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says getting high speed internet to rural communities in Michigan is a priority for her.

Stabenow said she plans to tackle this issue as part of the new federal farm bill.

“If we want to truly expand, create jobs all over Michigan, and the quality of life that we want in small towns as well as big cities, you have to have high speed internet,” she said.

A picture of Chelsea District Library
Burrill Strong Photography / Courtesy of Chelsea District Library

Bart and Mary Beth Hammer would welcome any solution to their internet woes.

“You can get a satellite dish, but it’s so slow,” said Bart Hammer, airline pilot and Lyndon Township resident. “And you only get a small amount of data [so] that you can’t stream anything.”

Midwest Energy has been laying fiber optic cables over its existing electric network.
MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS

There has been much talk of upgrading Michigan’s aging infrastructure in recent months. In Lansing, that conversation has focused on roads, bridges, and water pipes.

But what about internet access?

High-speed internet is a modern necessity. Regions without reliable high-speed internet are at an economic disadvantage.

And just as rural parts of the country were the last to get electricity in the 20th century, nowadays rural communities across Michigan lag behind urban areas in access to the internet.

Flickr user Firas / Flickr

On yesterday's Stateside, we met the co-founders of Rocket Fiber, the ultra-high-speed Internet service coming to downtown Detroit later this year and to Midtown Detroit next year.

The prospect of fiber optic cable delivering an Internet that's at least 100 times faster than what most of us are used to is mighty appealing.