$20M in grants available to expand internet access in under-served areas of state

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Recognizing the impact access to high-speed internet has on educational and economic opportunities, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the opening of applications for the Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grant program to increase broadband in under-served areas of Michigan. While much of Michigan has access to high-speed broadband internet service, there are still many rural areas lacking this vital connectivity.  

“Access to high-speed internet is a must to compete in today’s society,” said Whitmer. “Connecting all Michigan communities with broadband service is about leveling the playing field for every child and small business in the state. Everyone should be able to fully explore their passions and talents, no matter where they live, and not be held back by a lack of infrastructure.” 

The Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB) is now accepting applications for the CMIC grant program. It is offering $20 million in grants to internet service providers that are willing to expand access in unserved parts of the state

“Information is opportunity,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “In order to make Michigan a center for innovation, imagination, and entrepreneurship, everyone in our state needs and deserves the ability to participate in the global economy that is only accessible with high-speed internet. This grant will help close the gap that some Michiganders experience today.” 

The application window closes on Aug. 30, 2019. Grant awards are tentatively scheduled to be announced in April of 2020, in time for the summer 2020 construction season, and all projects must be completed by Sept. 30, 2023. 

Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate collaboration to achieve community investment and economic development goals in the areas impacted. Applicants must also show they have the managerial, financial, and technical abilities to build, operate, and manage a broadband network. 

Providers can apply for up to $5 million per grant and can apply for multiple projects. The scoring criteria includes, among other things, community and economic development, readiness to build, operate, and maintain the project, and the long-term viability of the project.  

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.