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Gilchrist II Announces Eric Frederick Selected as Michigan High-Speed Internet Office’s First Chief Connectivity Officer
July 26, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2022
Lt. Governor Gilchrist II Announces Eric Frederick Selected as Michigan High-Speed Internet Office’s First Chief Connectivity Officer
LANSING, Mich. – In a historic selection, Eric Frederick has been chosen as the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office’s (MIHI) very first Chief Connectivity Officer.
“Eric has been a high-speed internet expert in Michigan for many years, and now his expertise will enhance our efforts to expand access and affordability,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “As the state’s first ever Chief Connectivity Officer, Eric will lead our new High-Speed Internet Office as it develops the necessary infrastructure to invest our resources effectively and efficiently to achieve our goals. Governor Whitmer and I look forward to working with him to bring digital literacy and affordable high-speed internet connectivity to every Michigan community."
Frederick comes from Connected Nation Michigan, where over the last 10 years, he served as Vice President of Broadband Planning and Executive Director, assisting the State with numerous broadband-related projects. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in planning from Northern Michigan University and his Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University.
“Every Michigander deserves the opportunity to improve their quality of life with access to high-speed internet,” said Eric Frederick, Chief Connectivity Officer. “Access to fast, reliable broadband internet has never been more essential than it is today, and I am excited and honored to continue MIHI’s great work to provide every Michigander with the digital services they need.”
Housed in the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), MIHI was established by Governor Gretchen Whitmer under Executive Directive 2021-2 to make high-speed internet more affordable and accessible. With high-speed internet becoming increasingly necessary in our educational, professional, and personal lives, the office coordinates the State's efforts to ensure every Michigander has access to an affordable, reliable high-speed connection that meets their needs.
In addition to providing Michiganders with fast and accessible internet options, reliable broadband gives families better access to health care, remote education and online markets. Over $2.5 billion in potential economic benefit is left unrealized each year due to the lack of connectivity in the state. This digital divide includes hundreds of thousands of households that have not been reached by high-speed internet infrastructure, as well as an estimated 865,000 households that are disconnected due to the cost of subscribing to service or purchasing an appropriate device, a lack of digital skills, or other related barriers. Gaps in high-speed internet availability, affordability, adoption and use also disproportionately impacts communities of color, those in rural areas and low-income households.
“As Chief Connectivity Officer, Eric will lead the State’s efforts to develop innovative public and private partnerships and leverage every dollar available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other federal programs,” said LEO Director Susan Corbin. “Ensuring Michigan is a digitally equitable and fully connected state will allow us to compete in the global economy.”
Last year, MIHI released the 2021 Broadband Road Map and has since turned its attention to developing Michigan’s first five-year state broadband strategy and the State’s first digital equity plan. The office is standing up a new $250 million Realizing Opportunities with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program that will leverage partnerships with private internet service providers to build out dependable, affordable high-speed access to unserved communities across Michigan.
Governor Whitmer believes every family and business in Michigan deserves access to a reliable, affordable high-speed internet connection that meets their needs. She wants to close Michigan’s digital divide by expanding broadband, driving down costs, and boosting digital literacy. High-speed internet enables communities to develop and attract jobs and businesses. It expands economic opportunity for families, enhances educational experiences for students, and allows for remote access to key health care services.
Learn more about the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office.