US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced that Northern Michigan University will receive $1.2 million through the US Department of Agriculture to help fill the gap in fast, affordable internet service in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan. The senators ensured this funding in the federal budget bill was enacted into law.
Northern Michigan University is a leader in efforts to provide reliable high-speed internet service in the Upper Peninsula through their Educational Access Network. The network is open to University and K-12 students as well as eligible community members, alumni, and US military veterans. Currently the Educational Access Network serves 113 communities in the Upper Peninsula. This investment will fill in the gaps in coverage in the Upper Peninsula and establish the network’s first services in the Northern Lower Peninsula. The project is estimated to have $3.2 million per year in economic impact.
“In today’s world, you need reliable high-speed internet for everything from work, school, doctors’ visits, and paying your bills. In many parts of the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, many residents don’t have reliable internet service, which is why Senator Peters and I strongly supported final passage of this budget bill. Northern Michigan University is already providing innovative and affordable, high-speed internet, and I’m excited this new investment will allow them to serve even more residents,” said Senator Stabenow.
“Whether you are a student completing school work, running a small business, or working from home, high-speed internet access is critical to keeping our communities strong and connected,” said Senator Peters. “I was proud to secure this funding, which will help Northern Michigan University build on its success providing Michiganders in rural communities across the Upper Peninsula with fast and reliable internet access. I’ll continue working to expand affordable internet options and close the digital divide in our state.”
“Helping the State of Michigan eradicate the digital divide by providing critically necessary high-speed broadband throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula is an effort Northern Michigan University has led for several years. We appreciate the help and ongoing support that Senator Stabenow and Senator Peters have provided to make this funding available because the Senators, like Northern, understand the impact internet access has on families, businesses, and communities,” said Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration at Northern Michigan University.
Last week, Congress passed the federal budget bill with significant wins for Michigan. To learn more about the budget bill, click here.