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State offers grants to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

broadband internet wires
Alex Tihonov
Adobe Stock

The state is offering $20 million in grants to encourage internet companies to provide high-speed service to rural parts of Michigan. Pam Matelski directs the grant program. She says there are pockets all across the state that still don’t have high-speed service. She says that affects schools, agriculture, businesses, and health care in rural areas.

“People were talking about having to sit outside a McDonald’s for their kids to be able to get their homework done; small businesses that would like to do home businesses, opportunities to work from home that just don’t exist in certain parts of the state,” she said.

Matelski says there are about 368,000 households in rural Michigan that can’t get affordable high-speed internet. She says the grants of up to $5 million won’t get service to every part of the state that’s underserved, but the hope is it will get more providers interested in trying to offer service.

According to Matelski, Michigan ranks 30th among U.S. states and territories in access to broadband service.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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