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High-speed internet service coming to more of Michigan

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Michigan is getting $61 million from the federal government to expand high-speed internet to areas of the state that currently don’t have it. That federal money is part of about $87 million being invested to connect national internet exchanges with local internet distributors.

“These additional fiber-optic routes that we will install will help remove congestion, allow faster, better services to be delivered to all these areas,” said Scott Randall, General Manager of Peninsula Fiber Network (PFN), the company that’s doing the work. PFN is matching 30% of the grant funding by contributing $26 million toward the broadband expansion projects.

One route will go from Chicago to southwest Michigan via a cable on the bottom of Lake Michigan. That’s far cheaper than trenching a line through Chicago and Indiana to get to Michigan. Another large cable will be laid from the Lower Peninsula to Beaver Island and then to the Upper Peninsula. The third big line will go from Port Huron to Flint.

Peninsula Fiber Network will install fiber-optic cable to link major internet hubs to local distributors.
Peninsular Fiber Network
Peninsula Fiber Network will install fiber-optic cable to link major internet hubs to local distributors.

An estimated 35,000 homes and businesses will benefit. It’s likely more people will be served as local distributors expand service.

U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, noted the project will place 535 miles of new broadband fiber to connect local networks to high-capacity national and regional networks. The $61 million in federal money comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in 2021.

In a news release, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said “From St. Joseph to Houghton, we are working to ensure every Michigander has access to quality, affordable high-speed internet.”

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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