Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Continue Connecting Families, Communities, Small Businesses to High-Speed Internet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

November 29, 2021   

Contact: Press@michigan.gov    

Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Continue Connecting Families, Communities, Small Businesses to High-Speed Internet 

Governor focused on collaborating with legislature to effectively use Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan to deliver high-speed internet, create more good-paying jobs for Michigan workers 

LANSING, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer today, in preparation for the billions in federal funds Michigan is expected to receive over the next five years specifically for high-speed internet from the newly-enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, issued an executive directive (ED) to state departments and agencies to collaborate with the legislature and ready the state to continue expanding high-speed internet access. The state will continue working to lower the cost of internet service, and help familiescommunities, and small businesses get and stay connected to affordable, reliable high-speed service. 

"Right now, we have an historic opportunity to put Michiganders first and use the billions in funding we are expected to receive under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure every home and business in our state has access to an affordable, reliable high-speed connection that meets their needs and that they know how to use," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "With this executive directive, we are getting ready to deliver critical resources to communities across Michigan to help them enhance internet access and get their residents connected. Investments in high-speed internet create economic prosperity and ensure families and small businesses can rely on their connections to work, learn, and access critical information and services. The new infrastructure bill's funding will build on work we have already done in this space and help us usher in a new era of prosperity for our state. I look forward to working with the legislature to invest these dollars and get the job done." 

"Every Michigan home and business needs the access to the infrastructure that makes high-speed internet access possible, and the connection must be affordable and reliable," said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. "Today's executive directive recognizes that high-speed internet is the single most empowering infrastructure that we can invest in.  Governor Whitmer and I will remain laser-focused on ensuring that the federal dollars being made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are spent strategically and efficiently, so that we can take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring high-speed internet service to every person, family, and community in our state.  We look forward to partnering with the legislature, local leaders, and all those who are ready to focus on getting Michiganders connected so that we can get this done." 

The ED directs state departments to take a range of actions to help Michigan continue expanding high-speed internet, including: 

  • Putting Michigan workers and businesses first, prioritizing in-state businesses and workers as the state continues building up high-speed internet infrastructure. 
  • Helping local communities build more efficiently, using the "dig once" principle to complete work on water, high-speed internet, the road, and other utilities simultaneously wherever possible. 
  • Prioritizing the improvement of high-speed internet infrastructure in communities with the slowest speeds first to ensure we are making equitable investments. 
  • Collaborating with local service providers to develop an even more granular, comprehensive map of internet coverage in Michigan to strategically close the digital divide. 
  • Developing a digital equity plan to identify barriers to internet access, make long-term plans with counties and communities to improve access, and assess how enhanced access improves a range of other social, economic, and health-related outcomes. 

To view the full executive directive, click the link below:  

Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan 

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Actwill send billions of dollars to Michigan to help Governor Whitmer continue fixing the damn roads, create millions of good-paying jobs, ensure small businesses can safely transport goods, expand the state's electric vehicle charging infrastructure, replace aging water infrastructure, including lead service lines, and expand high-speed internet access.   

More details on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can be found here. 

Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration Actions 

High-speed internet enables communities to develop, attract, and retain jobs and businesses. It expands economic opportunity for families, enhances educational experiences for students, and allows for remote access to key health care services.   

Governor Whitmer has taken several actions to move Michigan towards her goal of 100% access to high-speed internet and 95% adoption by households over the next five years. She signed the bipartisan Broadband Expansion Act of Michigan, funding the Connecting Michigan Communities Grant Program, that fills internet access gaps in underserved communities. To date, the program has expanded service to 18,900 homes and businesses, having an estimated annual economic impact of up to $38.4 million. 

The governor also established the Connecting Michigan Taskforce to lead Michigan's efforts to strengthen and grow high-speed internet infrastructure across Michigan and she created the Michigan High-Speed Internet Officea team dedicated to coordinating the state's high-speed internet work and aligning that work with economic development opportunities. 

Michigan has also won several federal grants to expand high-speed internet. This includes $363 million through the Federal Communication Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction - higher funding per capita than was secured in any other state - $32.6 million through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program, $5.3 million through the FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Grant Program, and $25 million through the CARES Act to support distance learning and internet-capable device purchases for students in need.   

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