If you’re in a large city like Lansing, Detroit or Grand Rapids.. you might take your access to high speed broadband for granted. But in some residents in Michigan.. that’s far from their reality.
The Bridge magazine took a closer look at broadband in rural Michigan. Click on this sentence for a link to the article.
Ted Roelofs talked about the problem with WKAR Digital News Director Reginald Hardwick on the December 2-3, 2017 edition of "Current State."
Hardwick: Overall, 37 percent of residents in rural areas of Michigan have no access to high speed broadband. Where were the worst cases?
Roelofs: It's pockets all around the state. There's a couple of counties up north that we have 100 percent people in rural areas that have no access to high speed internet. There's other counties where its 75 percent. Not exclusive to the Upper Pennisula. You'll find a lot of it in the northern lower but as well as many other areas in rural Michigan.
Hardwick: Do you have an example of a specific city or area and how it really affected them?
Roelofs: You can look anywhere. I focused on this township outside Ann Arbor where kind of a rare event. They had a millage last August. It was a 2-to-1 vote in support of nearly a 3-mill tax to bring in fiber optic cable into that township. That's not an insignificant amount of millage for a township to approve. It kind of shows how a lot of people value that. The consequences, I focused on one particular family: a pilot who couldn't even download links from his airline's website to give him his next flight assignment. It would just freeze up. He couldn't load it. He has to go to the library to do that.
It also affects children in school who can't access YouTube help links that teachers give them.
Hardwick: What's being done to address the problem?
Roelofs: There's some federal money that's going to try to bring more high speed broadband, expand it out to where it is right now. It's not enough money right now to really solve the problem. The program that's funded that which was launched in 2014 that has a lower standard than the most recent standard for broadband speed.
You've got this township in Ann Arbor, they're going to have high speed fiber optic at the end of next year because of that millage... but that's kind of piece by piece, township by township.