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State grants help fund projects to increase high-speed internet access in Michigan

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Posted at 8:54 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 08:54:57-04

LANSING, Mich. — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and the Department of Technology, Management & Budget announced on Thursday an additional $15.3 million in funding awarded through the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program.

The funding will support 20 projects across the state that will bring service to 6,700 locations and state officials project it will have an annual economic benefit of as much as $12.4 million, according to a news release.

“During my first days in office, I committed to working to increase high-speed internet availability, affordability and adoption across our state,” Gilchrist said. “We will continue to invest in expanding infrastructure to allow all Michiganders the opportunity to access high-speed internet. The funding in the CMIC grant will increase access for families and better connect people, communities and businesses across Michigan.”

With high-speed internet becoming a necessity in people’s educational, professional and personal lives, the CMIC grant program was established to expand broadband service to unserved areas in Michigan and supports the mission of the new Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently established to help close the digital divide.

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Funds will go toward projects that will expand broadband infrastructure across the state and provide access to high-speed internet for residents and businesses to compete in today’s digital society, according to the news release.

This is the third round of awards, and Whitmer wants to work with the state Legislature to ensure it will not be the last.

The first round of CMIC grant funds were announced back in October, with $11.9 million awarded to 10 projects and a second round of $1 million and an additional four projects was awarded this past April.

Overall, the total grant funds awarded so far are expected to impact more than 18,000 locations in Michigan and generate annual economic benefits that could exceed $32 million.

All projects awarded funding have committed to closing the digital divide and providing digital literacy training materials to residents and businesses in their proposed service areas, while working with local community and anchor institutions and foundations to host events to promote e-learning, job and workforce training.

A full list of the CMIC grant awards can be found here, along with information about future grant awards.

READ MORE: Considering a move for remote work? Check for broadband first