HARBOR SPRINGS — HARBOR Inc.’s Broadband Team has joined forces with Connect Michigan by enrolling in the Connected community certification program, an initiative that offers a comprehensive way to bridge the digital divide by building community partnerships to assess broadband access, adoption, and use issues in the area.
HARBOR Inc.’s high-speed Internet committee, at work since 2007, is now a Broadband Team working to provide connectivity to area homes and businesses.
“Broadband access is a crucial component of economic development,” said Harbor Inc. executive director Rachel Smolinski. “The Connected community certification program will facilitate the building of a comprehensive action plan for developing a technology-ready community by reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, working with our Broadband Team, and conducting community assessments.”
HARBOR Inc., an acronym for Harbor Area Regional Board Of Resources Inc., is a nonprofit that brings together local units of government, citizens and associations who share a common goal of controlling and coordinating growth in the greater Harbor Springs community.
Connect Michigan is the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state and is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to help provide high-speed Internet to underserved areas like Harbor Springs.
“We look forward to working with HARBOR Inc. on these efforts,” said Jan Kellogg, economic specialist, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance. “Northern Michigan has to have fast, reliable, and affordable broadband in order to stay competitive.”
The HARBOR Inc. Broadband Team is working to discuss options and plans to include additional area partners to work together on providing Internet to the underserved areas. HARBOR Inc. also will participate in the Connect Michigan Community engagement program, which guides communities through an assessment of their overall broadband and technology progression.
“Northern Michigan is a beautiful place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Eric Frederick, program manager for Connect Michigan. “Quaint towns, abundant natural resources, and friendly neighbors attract residents to northern Michigan and broadband enables them to stay by supporting entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and connecting with resources across the globe.”
“We have a great deal of work to do and by partnering with Connect Michigan, we believe we can find solutions that will provide broadband to our area,” said Smolinski.