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Lt. Governor Gilchrist Announces MI Connected Future Statewide Tour
January 11, 2023
State launches 40 stop tour seeking community input on high-speed internet investments
DETROIT, Mich. – Today, the Michigan High Speed Internet Office (MIHI) kicked off the MI Connected Future statewide listening tour aimed at collecting input from Michigan residents on how best to prioritize an estimated $1.6 billion the state will receive to deliver affordable, equitable and reliable high-speed internet service throughout the state.
“With access to affordable high-speed internet as our tool, we can connect Michiganders to education, economic opportunity, healthcare, and more,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “The MI Connected Future listening tour will help us build on the work we’ve done to connect 23,000 homes and small businesses to high-speed internet and ensure Michiganders are able to make their voices heard. Governor Whitmer and I will continue working with anyone to connect Michiganders to high-speed internet and grow our economy.”
More than 30% of homes and businesses either don’t have access to, can’t afford, or are missing the skills and technology needed for an internet connection.
“Every region and every community in our state has unique needs when it comes to getting everyone connected,” said Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Our MIHI Office has hit the ground running to complete this very ambitious tour to ensure we tackle any obstacles that stand in the way of getting Michigan citizens connected, affordable high-speed internet.”
MIHI seeks community input and feedback about the internet needs which are most important to the state’s communities, especially topics like affordability, accessibility, digital skills development and access to internet enabled devices. Attendees can look forward to being active participants in the development of the Michigan Five-Year Action Plan and the Michigan Digital Equity Plan. The MI Connected Future tour anticipates thousands of Michiganders to attend more than 40 events throughout 2023 in cities and towns such as, Warren, Pontiac, Jackson, and Dundee, with many more locations to come across the state.
"The mission of our office is to create a more digitally equitable state where every Michigander can leverage technology to improve their quality of life," said Eric Frederick, chief connectivity officer for the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. "We can't achieve digital equity without listening to every community and every voice to better understand the needs and aspirations of our state. Investments of this scale start with a good plan, and that's why this community tour is a critical step in our process."
The kick-off event was held at Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based, non-denominational, non-profit organization whose aim is to overcome racism and poverty by providing education and training for underrepresented minorities and others.
"We are excited to host the first stop of the MI Connected Future tour," said Portia Roberson, chief executive officer, Focus: Hope. "At Focus: Hope we use practical and intelligent action to inspire people and communities to acquire the tools and resources to reach their full potential. Getting all Michiganders connected to quality and affordable high-speed internet will help break down the digital divide and create more opportunities for all."
This investment is made available through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Learn more about the MI Connected Future Tour and register to attend at www.michigan.gov/MIConnectedFuture.