ESCANABA, Mich. — Michigan ranks 30th in the nation for broadband availability, and the state says more than 350,000 households don’t have access to high-speed Internet service. But that will be changing soon, according to Governor Rick Snyder.
He, along with state technology and business leaders, announced a plan Wednesday to provide “universal access” through an initiative called the Michigan Broadband Roadmap. Governor Snyder also recently issued an Executive Order to launch the Michigan Consortium of Advanced Networks (MCAN), which held a series of listening tours to gather public input – before creating the comprehensive plan.
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. Among the recommendations are a call for more investment in broadband to improve community and economic development, promoting and building awareness for low-cost broadband subscription programs, and boosting the workforce pool for the telecommunications industry.
In a state news release, MCAN Chairman Dave DeVries said, “As we traveled the state we heard a clear consensus – Michigan residents need and deserve secure, reliable and affordable broadband. The thoughtful contributions made by each of the MCAN members and support staff led to these realistic goals and timelines. The path toward reaching our goals will take time and collaboration from both the public and private sector but is ultimately achievable.”
The state estimates there is $2.5 billion worth of potential economic opportunities available, if broadband is expanded to more remote areas of the state.
Says Governor Snyder: “As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life. 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.”
MCAN was created after being recommended by the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission.
“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.”