Lt. Gov. Gilchrist Announces Award to Increase High-speed Internet Access Across MichiganJuly 15, 2021
“During my first days in office, I committed to working to increase high-speed internet availability, affordability, and adoption across our state,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “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 our 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 (MIHI), recently established by Gov. Whitmer to help close the digital divide. The funds will go towards projects that will expand broadband infrastructure across Michigan and provide access to high-speed internet for residents and businesses to compete in today’s digital society. This is the third round of awards, and the Governor looks forward to working with the legislature to ensure it is not the last.
The first round of CMIC grant funds was announced in October 2020, with $11.9 million awarded to 10 projects and a second round of $1 million and an additional four projects was awarded in April 2021. Overall, the total grant funds awarded so far will 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 area, while working with local community and anchor institutions and foundations to host events to promote e-learning, job, and workforce training.
Access to broadband and high-speed internet is vital to people’s ability to work, learn and carry out business. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more imperative than ever and building and strengthening broadband infrastructure throughout Michigan will be a driver of economic recovery efforts statewide.
By establishing MIHI, the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is continuing to improve coordination of the work being done across state agencies and departments to improve high-speed internet access, affordability, and use. The need for a single point-of-contact regarding these critical topics was identified by the Connecting Michigan Taskforce, an interagency working group that was announced by Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist in October 2020 at the same time Gov. Whitmer signed into law the Broadband Expansion Act of Michigan, which codified the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program.
A full list of the CMIC grant awards can be accessed on the CMIC website, along with information about future grant awards.