ANN ARBOR — U.S. Sen. Carl Levin leads the invited guests for a dedication ceremony Tuesday at 11 a.m. for Merit Network Inc.’s new fiber optic cable in communities on either side of the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

The Mackinaw Area Public Library and the St. Ignace Public Library will host key stakeholders who will reflect upon this momentous occasion. The event will be streamed live simultaneously between both locations. Merit Network will announce a significant milestone for the project and answer questions on how the community can take advantage of this high-speed network.

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In 2010, Merit Network, Inc. received two federal stimulus awards totaling $102 million for REACH-3MC. The Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Health care – Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will create 2,287 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure in rural and underserved areas throughout Michigan and provide backhaul to key interconnection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Through REACH-3MC, Merit enables state and local government, colleges, schools, libraries, health care facilities and other community anchor institutions to connect to Merit’s private, high-performance network, enabling them to lower costs, consolidate services and provide more to Michigan’s citizens. Merit engages sub-recipients from the private sector to improve service to homes and businesses along the REACH-3MC route. Merit’s existing fiber infrastructure combined with the new REACH-3MC network infrastructure creates a robust footprint in the state, providing Michigan with a strategic asset to leverage in the future.

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The Mackinaw library is at 528 W. Central Ave., Mackinaw City. The St. Ignace library is at 110 W. Spruce St., St. Ignace.

The event is open to the public. Anyone may attend in person at either location. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

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