An orange sign at Fort Snelling State Park, Minnesota, reads "Warning - Buried Fiber Optic Cable" - "No digging" "WorldCom"

Michigan announces $203 million in grants to expand internet access

November 9, 2023

A lack of access to high-speed internet has remained one of the biggest hurdles to jumpstarting economic development in places like Northern Michigan and the Great Lakes Bay Region, according to area officials.

To address those hurdles, state lawmakers created a program that will provide $238 million in grants to internet service providers and public-private partnerships (P3s) to expand high-speed internet service to underserved locations in the state.

State officials recently announced 18 projects have been approved for funding through the program, called Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN). The projects will connect more than 70,000 homes and businesses to high-speed internet.

The grants total $203 million and will be matched with $202 million in private funds. Nine entities applied for funding, including Spectrum Mid-America and the Great Lakes Energy Cooperative.

The Michigan High Speed Internet Office (MIHI) will announce a second round of awards later this year. 

The ROBIN funds come from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s $10 billion Capital Projects Fund (CPF), which is designed to ensure communities have access to the high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband.

In addition to broadband infrastructure, CPF funds can be used for critical projects that enable work, education and health monitoring in response to a public health emergency.

Through March 2023, CPF has awarded approximately $5 billion to 34 states to provide high-speed internet infrastructure to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses.

For example, in September, Oregon received $156.7 million from the CPF to increase access to affordable, high-speed internet to an estimated 17,195 homes and businesses.

Photo by Tony Webster courtesy of Creative Commons.

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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