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Michigan High-Speed Internet Office
Michigan High-Speed Internet Office
Access to affordable high-speed internet has become a necessity in our professional, personal, and social lives. People who lack connectivity miss out on online learning, healthcare, and economic opportunities. The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) is working to create a more digitally equitable Michigan where everyone can leverage technology to improve their quality of life.
What You Can Do Today
- Learn how the ROBIN Grant Program will help connect homes and businesses to high-speed internet
- Keep up to date with everything we’re doing by signing up for our email updates
- Help ensure the FCC’s broadband map is accurate by checking on your address on the map – if it’s not, learn how to issue a challenge
- Apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program
- For organizations: Complete the statewide digital inclusion survey
- Learn how to improve digital inclusion in your community
- View feedback gathered from stakeholders and organizations in our Partnership Roundtable Discussions and watch recordings of the sessions
- Find a free WiFi hotspot near you
What's Coming Soon
- Digital Equity Plan Draft: MIHI will soon release the state’s Digital Equity Plan Draft and open it up for public comment. Check back here to make a comment and share your thoughts. All public comments will be posted online, responded to by the MIHI Office and available for public viewing. The comments and responses will also be hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the future.
- The Digital Equity Plan Draft was created after traveling across the state to 31 MI Connected Future Tour stops from January to May to hear about the broadband barriers that Michiganders face. MIHI heard from over 800 Michiganders and gathered valuable input and qualitative feedback.
MI Connected Future Public Comment Tour: MIHI maintains its focus on community feedback and will host on-the-ground community engagement meetings to hear public comments on Michigan’s Digital Equity Plan Draft in each of the state’s 10 prosperity regions. Our second leg of the MI Connected Future Tour will begin in July and run for five weeks. All comments and feedback shared during this time will be read, posted online and responded to by the MIHI Office at the end of the 45-day window.
What's Happened So Far
The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office was established in June 2021 by Executive Directive 2021-2. An additional Executive Directive 2021-12 has ensured that Michigan is poised to make effective use of the once-in-a-generation resources that are being made available through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist have tasked MIHI with bridging our state’s digital divide and set two key statewide goals:
- Ensure that high-speed internet access is available to every home, business, institution, and community
- Ensure that 95% of Michigan households adopt a permanent home internet connection
Our work includes coordinating the Connecting Michigan Task Force, which was established align the work being done by state agencies and departments related to high-speed internet access.
In November 2021, MIHI released an Update to the Michigan Broadband Roadmap, which described the progress that has been made since the 2018 Michigan Broadband Roadmap and the 2016 21st Century Infrastructure Report. One key example: the Michigan Infrastructure Council has launched a “Dig Once” project portal that is designed for infrastructure asset owners to document infrastructure and utility work. This is something that was called for in both the 2016 Report and the 2018 Roadmap.
MIHI recently released a Digital Inclusion Playbook and set of Digital Inclusion Playbook and set of resources that can help Michiganders improve digital equity in their communities. Creating a more digitally equitable Michigan was Goal 2 of the 2021 Update to the Michigan Broadband Roadmap and was recognized by the 2021 Michigan Poverty Task Force Report as the pathway to lifting 1.4 million Michiganders out of poverty and reducing our Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed population.
Gov. Whitmer signed into law both the Broadband Expansion Act of Michigan, which codified the state-funded Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program, and the Building Michigan Together plan, which invested the funds our state is receiving from the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund in the ROBIN grant program.
During the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration, internet service providers have secured:
- $34M through the CMIC grant program
- $363M through the Federal Communications Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
- $70M through the United States Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program
- $4.8M through the FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Grant Program
- $3M through the CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants from the Economic Development Administration within the United States Department of Commerce
More than 212,000 households in our state lack the opportunity to access a high-speed internet connection and another additional 865,000 households face barriers related to affordability, adoption, or digital literacy. Taken together, this means that approximately 31% of Michigan households do not have an affordable, reliable high-speed internet connection that meets their needs.
The consequences of being unconnected or underconnected can be measured:
- Students with high-speed, home internet access have an overall grade point average of 3.18. This is significantly higher than the average 2.81 GPA for students with no home access and 2.75 average for student with only cell phone access.
- Increased access to the internet can help address issues of isolation among older adults. Studies have shown that isolation is associated with worse health outcomes and even premature death among adults age 50 and over.
- Effective use of telemedicine can reduce hospitalizations of nursing home patients and reduce health care costs.
- Small businesses that have websites have higher annual revenues and are more likely to have recently hired one or more employees than similar businesses that aren't online. Those that use social media weekly are three times more likely to have hired recently than those that don't.
- A study of manufacturers found that 40% said they were able to add new customers and 57% said they saved money because of their high-speed internet connection.
- Farmers who gain high-speed internet access experience an average 6% increase in farm revenue.
- Having a home broadband connection gives households an estimated economic impact of $1,850 per year.