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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, and that lack of connectivity is a barrier to online learning, healthcare and economic opportunity. That's why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2021-2 to help bridge the digital divide and established the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI), which will coordinate all state, federal, philanthropic and private investments made into broadband infrastructure and its utilization.
How We'll Succeed
MI-HI will build on the success of the Connecting Michigan Taskforce by:
- Continuing to convene and coordinate departments and agencies to further align and coordinate work being done related to high-speed internet access
- Serving as a single-point-of-contact for Internet Service Providers, communities and local units of government, community anchor institutions, and individual Michiganders
- Building awareness of state and federal resources and funding opportunities, including those made available through the American Jobs Plan, American Rescue Plan, and more
We are furthering and formalizing our commitment to universal connectivity in Michigan by establishing the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).
Our Work So Far
In October 2020, Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist announced the formation of the Connecting Michigan Taskforce, an interagency working group that has worked to align the work being done by state agencies and departments related to high-speed internet access.
Governor Whitmer also signed into law the Broadband Expansion Act of Michigan, which codified the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program. Earlier this year, the Michigan Infrastructure Council also launched a "Dig Once" project portal that is designed for infrastructure asset owners to document infrastructure and utility work, which will help improve coordination and was called for both in the "21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report" and the "Michigan Broadband Roadmap."
During the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration, internet service providers have secured:
- $363M through the Federal Communications Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
- $28M in grant awards through the state-level Connecting Michigan Communities Grant Program
- $32.6M through the United States Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program
- $4.8M through the FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Grant Program
It was noted in both the "21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report" (2016) and the "Michigan Broadband Roadmap" (2018) that the state would benefit from establishing a single point-of-contact to help both Michiganders seeking connections and Internet Service Providers seeking to provide them.
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.
Universal access to broadband is a clear and urgent priority for every Michigan resident, business, region, and community. That is why the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has partnered with Connected Nation Michigan (CNMI) to address the state's broadband challenges and to improve access, adoption, and the use of broadband technology across the state.