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Impact of Broadband Connectivity
Posted August 14, 2014
By Connected Nation

From Samantha Stemler, Connect Michigan Communications Intern:

The Internet now supports more activities and capabilities than ever, including everything from breaking news, social groups, communication, movies and TV shows, books, classes, stores, and everything in between. Recognizing these vast opportunities, communities across Michigan have partnered with Connect Michigan to expand Internet service areas and options. Residents, businesses, libraries, schools, and local governments that previously struggled with broadband availability are now getting online.

When Osceola County began exploring broadband expansion in October of 2012, it was difficult to know where to start.

“We didn’t have a mechanism to measure it,” said community development coordinator Dan Massey.  Connect Michigan provided surveys and mapping tools to help gather information and pinpoint opportunities for growth. Today, the county is close to Connected Certification and broadband service maps show 99% coverage. Monthly meetings between community developers, residents, and service providers brought new towers to the northeast section of the county in particular, where DSL networks were being removed by previous ISPs.

“We wouldn’t have known who to go to with this opportunity before,” said Massey. “Through Connect Michigan we learned who our providers were.”

Roscommon County was among the first communities to become Connected Certified and is now a model for others. Regular meetings, surveys, and digital mapping again revealed opportunities for broadband expansion.

“We started to meet on a regular basis to collect information and, through those meetings, the providers started to come into the community,” said Rosalie Myers, executive coordinator of the Roscommon County Economic Development Council. Wireless towers and fiber optic cables through miSpot and Merit Network Inc. expanded coverage and service options. New classes throughout the area enable residents to take advantage of the Internet’s vast capabilities. The Roscommon Library’s weekly Tech Hour, social media workshops for businesses, tech classes through the senior center, and iPads and laptops in local schools are all bringing breakthrough technology to Roscommon County.

Osceola County and Roscommon County are two of over 30 Michigan communities now Connected Certified or executing Technology Action Plans.  Learn more about Connect Michigan’s ongoing support for these communities online and visit us on Facebook or Twitter for local broadband developments in your area.

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