Connect Michigan Finds Broadband Availability Improving

LANSING — New research unveiled Tuesday by Connect Michigan shows that the broadband availability gap in Michigan is shrinking, with 96.45 percent of Michigan residents now having access to fixed broadband speeds of 3 megabits per second on the download side and 768 Kbps upload.

That’s up from 95.39 of Michigan residents having access to those speeds as of the last survey in April.

The 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 with 18 communities across the state to support comprehensive community broadband planning efforts and provide technical assistance.

Among the findings of the new broadband availability research are:
* 96.45 percent of Michigan households can access broadband at advertised speeds of 3 Mbps download/768 Kbps upload (excluding mobile and satellite services), which means approximately 137,000 households are in areas eligible for Connect America Fund broadband deployment subsidies.
* Access to broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload continues to rise, climbing from 83 percent to 86.22 percent of Michigan households in six months (excluding mobile and satellite services).
* Broadband at the basic 768 Kbps download/200 Kbps upload tier is available to 98.71 percent of Michigan households, up from 98.21 percent last April (excluding mobile and satellite services), leaving approximately 50,000 households unable to connect to basic high-speed Internet.
* In terms of broadband competition, 94.03% of Michigan households have the ability to choose broadband service from two or more non-mobile broadband providers (also excludes satellite providers).

”Michigan has seen marked improvements in broadband access in a short time span,” said Eric Frederick, Connect Michigan state program manager. “However, broadband development requires a three-pronged approach. Less than two-thirds of Michigan residents adopt and use broadband at home. Widely available infrastructure coupled with the elimination of barriers to broadband adoption and use for residents and businesses will establish Michigan as a leader in the digital economy.”

In April 2012, Connect Michigan released an innovative new broadband mapping tool called My ConnectViewTM 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 in a given area, 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 U.S. Department of Commerce’s 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. The data is then independently verified through engineering studies, site visits, propagation models, and consumer feedback. The FCC is using this data to direct broadband subsidies. More information about the broadband mapping process is provided in the Broadband Mapping FAQ at www.connectmi.org.

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