Access to and use of the internet has become an integral component of everyday life in the 21st century. Digital information has reshaped how individuals participate in nearly every dimension of society. It is imperative that communities leverage broadband network access to eliminate the homework gap and improve education, socioeconomic equality, telemedicine, public safety and economic development to maintain and grow the quality of life for their residents.
At least 380,000 homes in Michigan lack access to broadband. This equates to 27% of households in the state with school-age children. Low population densities and rough terrain present low returns on investment for commercial providers to serve these rural communities. Additionally, flawed methods of data collection by the Federal Communications Commission produce inaccurate and overestimated connectivity information, which acts as a disqualifier for many federal, state and foundation funding sources.