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THE MICHIGAN

MOONSHOT
MICHIGAN MOONSHOT TESTIMONIALS
Blandin Foundation

“The Michigan Moonshot survey is well-designed, easy for users to complete and provides critical information for community influencers and decision-makers. Using this survey tool will increase Blandin Foundation’s effectiveness in working with communities so anxious to improve their area’s broadband access. We have collected, reviewed and used multiple survey instruments in our work with communities over the years. We are confident that the Michigan Moonshot will be a part of our toolkit going forward as a keystone in our Community Broadband Resources – Accelerate! Program.”

-Bernadine Joselyn, Director, Public Policy & Engagement, Blandin Foundation

Blandin Foundation would like to thank Merit Network for their generous permission to use the Michigan Moonshot survey tool in our work with rural Minnesota communities. Gathering and analyzing data from community members about their broadband services – both use and satisfaction – is a complicated task. Using a well-designed survey instrument is the critical first step in that process. The Michigan Moonshot survey is well-designed, easy for users to complete and provides critical information for community influencers and decision-makers. Using this survey tool will increase Blandin Foundation’s effectiveness in working with communities so anxious to improve their area’s broadband access. We have collected, reviewed and used multiple survey instruments in our work with communities over the years. We are confident that the Michigan Moonshot will be a part of our toolkit going forward as a keystone in our Community Broadband Resources – Accelerate! Program.

-Bernadine Joselyn, Director, Public Policy & Engagement, Blandin Foundation

Southwest Michigan Planning Commision

“We had no clear direction in our journey but knew that building our knowledge base was essential. To that end, the Moonshot was an essential piece that helped clarify our path. Over time and with your patient, steady, reliable input always available when we needed it, our direction began to snap into place. You helped us organize our local champions. You helped us see the logic of the appropriate steps necessary to connect our efforts together. ”

-K. John Egelhaaf, AICP Executive Director, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

I want to express my appreciation for the expertise that Merit has provided to the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) for our broadband expansion efforts in Berrien County. The SWMPC is staffed with regional planners and GIS mapping experts but we have only slightly more than general fluency with broadband issues. Over time we have sought to expand our knowledge of what is happening in the broadband space. The pace of that acquisition of knowledge increased significantly in 2019 when Berrien County made county-wide broadband a priority and handed the task over to the SWMPC. Soon after that we found Merit and became aware of the Michigan Moonshot.

Before any sort of formal relationship between us had crystalized, you were remarkably informative and willing to help us make sense of the broadband landscape. We had no clear direction in our journey but knew that building our knowledge base was essential. To that end, the Moonshot was an essential piece that helped clarify our path. Over time and with your patient, steady, reliable input always available when we needed it, our direction began to snap into place. You helped us organize our local champions. You helped us see the logic of the appropriate steps necessary to connect our efforts together. Now, since we have formalized our engagement and begun our county-wide broadband data collection project together, I can see Merit from another angle. The team at Merit is absolutely responsive, accommodating, and expert in every regard. Their dedication to our cause is exemplary. From the start, I have never felt anything but pride in our decision to partner with Merit.

-K. John Egelhaaf, AICP Executive Director, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

Benton Institute

“Through the Toolkit, the Merit team’s expertise is widely shared and valued, providing benefits to communities and states across the country.

As a community broadband coach, I highly recommend the Toolkit as a way for communities to get their broadband teams and initiatives up and running in a hurry, making community broadband experts out of citizen volunteers, economic developers and elected officials.”

-Bill Coleman, Owner, Community Technology Advisors

Michigan Moonshot Toolkit and Survey Helps Communities

Local leaders around Michigan are well-served by the Michigan Moonshot Broadband Merit team which helps these leaders effectively use the resources within the outstanding Moonshot Toolkit. Luckily, for leaders of other states, these resources are available online as a source of knowledge and strategy as they tackle the challenge of spurring broadband deployment in their community or region.

The community survey within the Toolkit is of special high value. Gathering quality data about existing broadband services and community needs is an essential first step in any community broadband initiative. By providing a well-designed and tested survey instrument, communities can proceed directly to implementation and analysis. Survey design is an often, under-appreciated skill where small changes in text and format can negatively impact usability and reliability. Through the Toolkit, the Merit team’s expertise is widely shared and valued, providing benefits to communities and states across the country.

As a community broadband coach, I highly recommend the Toolkit as a way for communities to get their broadband teams and initiatives up and running in a hurry, making community broadband experts out of citizen volunteers, economic developers and elected officials.

-Bill Coleman, Owner, Community Technology Advisors

Wayne State University

“Everyone at Merit was receptive to Wayne State’s needs. We had some accessibility concerns about the survey instrument. We wanted to use our campus portal to deliver personalized invitations for the Moonshot survey. We asked for more specific data about the carriers. The Merit team accommodated all of these requests in a timely and professional manner.”

-Tom Duszynski, IT Director, Wayne State University

I was part of a team at Wayne State University that worked with Merit Network on a customized version of the Moonshot initiative during 2020. I highly recommend Merit’s services for any Michigan-based organization seeking to improve Internet connectivity within their community.

Wayne State serves a diverse constituency of students, faculty, and staff that are mostly located within the metropolitan Detroit area. When the coronavirus pandemic forced the campus to close, students and employees had to work at locations scattered throughout Michigan (as well as Ohio and Ontario, Canada).

We realized that we needed a better understanding of the technology barriers facing our community: did they have adequate Internet bandwidth? Did they have ready access to a computer? Was a cell phone their only way to connect?

Merit’s Moonshot initiative was a perfect fit: the survey could answer our questions, and at the same time, it benefited others by adding more speed test measurements that are needed to challenge the accuracy of the FCC’s 477 maps.

Everyone at Merit was receptive to Wayne State’s needs. We had some accessibility concerns about the survey instrument. We wanted to use our campus portal to deliver personalized invitations for the Moonshot survey. We asked for more specific data about the carriers. The Merit team accommodated all of these requests in a timely and professional manner.

I heartily endorse the Merit Moonshot initiative.

-Tom Duszynski, IT Director, Wayne State University