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Broadband and Computing Stimulus Grants for Michigan


Merit Network to receive $69.6 million from ARRA to construct over 1,000 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure across 29 Michigan Counties in Northern Lower and Upper Peninsulas.

Michigan State University to receive $6 million from ARRA to create strategic public computing centers across Michigan.

Bloomingdale Communications to receive $5.6 million from ARRA to create a fiber ring in Van Buren County that will connect community anchor institutions.


Governor Jennifer Granholm, Governor for the State of Michigan

Representative John D. Dingell, Dean of the House of Representatives, 15th Congressional District of Michigan

Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communication and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Dr. Donald Welch, President and CEO, Merit Network, Inc.

Pamela Whitten, Dean of the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Dr. Kurt Demaagd, Assistant Professor, Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Michigan State University

Mark Bahnson, General Manager, Bloomingdale Communications, Inc.

Roger Rehm, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Central Michigan University, Co-Chair of Merit Network Board of Directors

Walter Milligan, Merit Network Board of Directors, Chief Information Officer, Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University


Press conference announcing the award of federal stimulus money in the state of Michigan to Merit Network, Inc., Michigan State University, and Bloomingdale Communications, Inc. Merit’s REACH-3MC II, MSU’s Evidenced Based Computing Centers II, and Bloomingdale Communications’ Van Buren County Fiber Ring will provide infrastructure and critical access to advanced information technologies that will create economic growth across the state and long into the future.

Merit Network’s REACH-3MC II will serve as a complement to Merit’s previous broadband stimulus award, REACH-3MC. Combined the REACH-3MC projects will bring over $100 million in federal funding to the state of Michigan and leverage nearly $30 million more in private investment. REACH-3MC II features fiber paths across eight counties in Northern Wisconsin. The broadband infrastructure to be created will provide significant opportunities for economic development in Michigan and the Midwest.

Michigan State University’s Evidence Based Computing Centers II is a continuation of their previous broadband stimulus award, Evidenced Based Computing Centers. Together the two projects will strengthen the computing and training capacity of anchor institutions throughout Michigan. The projects will establish computer centers and programming that will be coordinated with libraries, public housing centers, tribal community centers, community colleges, and other anchor institutions. Over 2,000 computers will be installed in 200 computer centers throughout the state.

Bloomingdale Communications’ Van Buren County Fiber Ring project will deploy a high-speed fiber network that will connect community anchor institutions including Van Buren Intermediate School District, Berrien County Regional Education Services, the City of South Haven and other government agencies across the county. Access to this infrastructure will allow for greater opportunities in healthcare, education, public safety and boost economic development.

Merit’s REACH-3MC projects will connect many of the MSU computing centers to Merit’s leading-edge fiber-optic backbone. Bloomingdale Communications and Merit will work together to maximize federal investment for Michigan. The REACH-3MC infrastructure projects, MSU’s Computing Centers and the Van Buren County Fiber Ring will help Michigan transition from a manufacturing-based economy to the new information economy.


The Michigan Information Technology Center
1000 Oakbrook Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6794


Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.


Members of the press may attend the event in person. For others, Merit will be streaming the event live in webcast format.