Solving the broadband access challenge requires a shared vision and partnerships from a coalition of stakeholders: public, nonprofit and private organizations, service providers, governmental agencies, educational institutions, regional broadband champions, policymakers and citizens. An ecosystem of partners and collaboration is critical for community broadband network success, and that is what the Michigan Moonshot is really all about.
How private organizations can contribute to the broadband ecosystem:
A consistent challenge nationally is understanding where and at what speeds broadband is available at a household granularity level.
Merit has partnered with the Quello Center at Michigan State University and M-Lab, the largest worldwide internet measurement platform, to conduct a crowdsourced approach to broadband data collection.
Data collection pilots in three school districts launched in May 2019 and encompassed about 4,300 students in rural Michigan. (Read the Data Collection Press Release.) Further scaling of these data collection efforts and data visualization tools are critical.
Armed with an accurate picture of Michigan’s connectivity, barriers to broadband network deployment in rural communities could be reduced through a combination of techniques. Efforts to secure one-time funds to supplement network construction costs, as well as the creation of community connectivity task forces, are imperative and viable next steps to address the lack of connectivity in Michigan, but require accurate data and research.
The Michigan Moonshot continually seeks support from private partners to continue the development of educational resources, such as whitepapers and technical guides, in-community workshops, webinars and large-scale broadband events.