In January 2010, Merit Network, Inc. and its REACH-3MC project partners were awarded a $33.3 million federal grant from funds allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The broadband infrastructure project will create a 1,017-mile fiber-optic network in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Since receiving the project award, Merit’s management and staff have travelled to cities located near the proposed routes for the network and met with local government officials, organizations and individuals. These community meetings have helped to update and educate attendees on the progress of network permitting, construction and related activities.
Recent community meetings have included gatherings in Gaylord, Manistee and Hillsdale, and while meetings have generally taken place indoors, Boyne City representatives arranged to have a bus drive attendees along the proposed network route in the area.
The new network is being built in many areas of Michigan where broadband connectivity does not exist. The community meetings have helped provide attendees with information about the benefits and opportunities that can result from the new network infrastructure. Anchor institutions, organizations, and Internet providers located near the new network routes have been invited to take advantage of the new infrastructure and connect to the network.
Merit’s community-based approach to high-performance networking has helped several cities in Michigan improve their network connectivity, and the REACH-3MC project will provide even greater opportunities for community involvement in cities across Michigan.
Cities and orgranizations located near the REACH-3MC network infrastructure or Merit’s backbone network are invited to email Merit Network at [email protected] about hosting a future community meeting.