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Executive Directive 2021 - 12
December 06, 2021
To: State Department Directors and Autonomous Agency Heads
From: Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Date: November 29, 2021
Re: Connecting every Michigander to reliable high-speed internet
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides federal support to ensure that every Michigander has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access that meets their needs. State departments will play a critical role in mobilizing these dollars and ensuring they are spent responsibly, efficiently, and in compliance with the law.
High-speed internet access has become a necessity for full participation in the economy and society. But for many Michiganders, the physical infrastructure that carries high-speed internet simply does not reach their communities. For others, connectivity is unattainable due to the cost of service or the devices required to connect. This lack of connectivity can make it difficult for a person to choose the life they want: to learn online, use telemedicine, work remotely, advertise their business, and even connect with family located elsewhere.
Every Michigander deserves affordable and reliable access to high-speed internet, which is why I created the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office this summer. The office works to bridge the digital divide by convening and coordinating departments and agencies in the advancement, implementation, and funding of our efforts to bridge the digital divide. Over the past five months, the High-Speed Internet Office has laid a foundation for collaboration with our partners in the legislature and community stakeholders, better positioning us to hit the ground running once federal dollars authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act start flowing to the states.
Within state government, the primary departments involved in mobilizing federal dollars to connect every Michigander to reliable high-speed internet are Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, and Department of Treasury.
Acting under sections 1 and 8 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, I direct state departments and autonomous agencies to do all of the following:
- Work with the Legislature to leverage the federal dollars available to Michigan to accelerate connecting every Michigander to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
- Consistent with Executive Directive 2019-15, work expeditiously to ensure that high-speed internet projects in this state rely on Michigan businesses that create jobs for Michigan workers.
- Coordinate with the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, which will be primarily responsible for convening and coordinating departments and agencies in mobilizing the federal dollars available to ensure that every home and business in Michigan can access high-speed internet services that meet their needs.
- Use resources that allow for infrastructure asset managers to coordinate on project plans and timing, including the "Dig Once" project portal, so that communities can upgrade not only their high-speed internet, but also roads and bridges, water, and other utility infrastructure without cutting through pavement and dirt multiple times.
- To bring more investments and high-paying jobs to Michigan, aggressively pursue discretionary federal grants available under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by working with Michigan's congressional delegation, local governments, and community partners.
- To improve Michigan's capacity to secure discretionary federal grant funding, invest in developing first-class transparency and accountability procedures that meet or exceed federal requirements.
- Leverage speed-test data, information from local internet service providers, and other resources to develop a robust and granular map of which Michigan homes and businesses have access to high-speed internet service adequate to facilitate full participation in our economy and society.
- Develop a high-speed internet infrastructure action plan in coordination with local governments, community development and planning organizations, businesses, and academic institutions so that Michigan can draw down federal support to build broadband infrastructure as efficiently as possible.
- Develop a digital equity plan in coordination with local governments, community development and planning organizations, businesses, and academic institutions to ensure that individuals and communities have the capacity needed for full participation in our economy and society. The digital equity plan must include all of the following:
- identification of the barriers to digital equity;
- measurable objectives for high-speed internet affordability and access, online accessibility of public resources and services, digital literacy, privacy and cybersecurity awareness, and affordability and accessibility of consumer devices to facilitate access to reliable high-speed internet;
- an assessment of how digital equity objectives will impact and interact with the state's economic and workforce development goals, plans, and outcomes; educational outcomes; health outcomes; civic and social engagement; and delivery of other essential services; and,
- a plan for collaboration with community anchor institutions; county and municipal government; local educational agencies; nonprofit organizations; organizations that represent people with disabilities, aging individuals, individuals who are English learners and have low levels of literacy; the state's non-federal incarcerated population; civil rights organizations; workforce development programs; state agencies that administer adult education and literacy activities; and public housing authorities.
This directive is effective immediately.
Thank you for your cooperation in implementing this directive.