State’s internet proposal could benefit region
Although the more cynical among us might opine it’s too little, too late, we like the fact that Gov. Rick Snyder is working right up until his state employment expires at the end of December. And after all is said and done, an initiative he rolled out late last week on broadband access might very well end up being among his administration’s longest lasting and most important plans.
Choosing an educational setting — the Escanaba High School — Snyder unveiled the Michigan Broadband Road Map, a move that aims to provide universal access to broadband, high speed internet to all of the state of Michigan.
“As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life,” Snyder said in a press release. “There are many regions of Michigan where internet is inaccessible or ineffective, and this plan works to make broadband internet available to Michigan residents in every corner of the state.”
Many of the places that are not serviced by broadband internet are in the Upper Peninsula, typically rural venues that aren’t currently serviced by a broadband provider. Overall, Michigan ranks 30th in the nation for broadband availability. More than 350,000 households lack access to high-speed internet service. Another two million households only have access to a single, terrestrial internet service provider. Snyder’s office says there is approximately $2.5 billion in potential economic opportunities available for these regions if that gap is reduced.
There are lots of unanswered questions, of course, a construction timeline and specific funding sources, for example. But that said, it’s an important step in what we believe is the right direction. It’ll be interesting to see if the next governor takes the broadband ball and runs with it.