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Connect Michigan Says Broadband Availability Edges Up

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Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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LANSING — New research unveiled Wednesday by Connect Michigan shows that the broadband availability gap in Michigan is shrinking, with 95.39 percent of Michigan residents now having access to fixed broadband speeds of 3 megabits per second download and 768,000 bits per second upload, compared to 93.5 percent last October.

Nonprofit Connect Michigan has been working since 2009 to ensure that Michigan residents have access to the economic, educational, and quality of life benefits derived from increased broadband access, adoption, and use. Part of that work includes maintaining detailed analysis of broadband availability across the state to support broadband planning efforts. Through its Connected program, Connect Michigan is currently working across nine regions to support comprehensive community broadband planning efforts and provide technical assistance.

Among the findings of the new broadband availability research are:
* 92.33 percent of Michigan households can access broadband at advertised speeds of 6 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload (excluding mobile and satellite services).
* 91.85 percent of Michigan households can access broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload (excluding mobile and satellite services).
* 96.99 percent of rural households in Michigan have access to broadband, representing an increase of approximately 50,000 additional rural households gaining access to fixed broadband service since October 2011.
* 83.01 percent of Michigan households have access to broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps download.
* Broadband at the basic 768 Kbps/200 Kbps tier is available to 98.21 percent of Michigan households, up from 96.8 percent last October (excluding mobile and satellite services).
* 92.41 percent of Michigan households have the ability to choose broadband service from two or more non-mobile broadband providers.

Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of broadband at download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster. Increased demand for bandwidth and desire to access more robust online applications by Michigan residents and businesses have led Michigan’s broadband providers to invest in significant infrastructure improvements.

“We are encouraged that the efforts to bridge the broadband access gap are showing clear results,” said Eric Frederick, state program manager for Connect Michigan. “Connect Michigan is working with communities and broadband providers to continue to bring the empowering technology of broadband to the approximately 178,528 Michigan households that remain underserved.”

Last month, Connect Michigan released an innovative new broadband mapping tool called My ConnectView offering unmatched views of Michigan’s technology landscape. Residents and businesses are encouraged to use the interactive map to find area providers and help validate the data. To report that broadband is not available consumers can fill out a broadband inquiry.

Connect Michigan’s research was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program for Michigan, funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The data were gathered in accordance with the requirements of the NTIA. The process begins by contacting all known providers in the state and providing information about the broadband mapping project. Information on broadband service areas is collected from each provider through voluntary participation and is subject to confidentiality protections. Connected Nation strives to maintain a flexible mapping process to be able to collect data from providers in a variety of formats based on providers’ technical capabilities and resources.

As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas.

For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit www.connectmi.org.

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