Internet access to expand in Chippewa, Mackinac and Luce counties

Merit Networks is using money from a grant to increase broadband internet access to thousands in the EUP.

Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties are going to see more broadband internet infrastructure in the upcoming years.

The increased access to broadband will bring internet access to many people who don’t have it in rural counties.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Merit Network, Inc. in addition to $2.3 million in local funds to support construction of a 70-mile, middle-mile fiber optic infrastructure. 

The project will see the creation of 70 miles of middle-mile open- access fiber optic infrastructure. This means that other internet providers, not just Merit Networks, will be able to use this infrastructure to increase their own internet services to areas which currently don’t have access to broadband internet.

A worker installs fiber optic cable on a utility pole near Belfair, Wash.

More:Closing the gaps: Efforts, funding aim to bring high-speed internet to every Michigander

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There are multiple kinds of broadband infrastructure. The kind that is being built in this project is middle-mile. Middle-mile infrastructure is like a highway, it is meant to connect two areas that are very far away. After this construction is complete, Merit Networks and other companies will be able to add last-mile infrastructure, which is like adding an exit to the highway.

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