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Merit Network Announces REACH-3MC Webcast Update

ANN ARBOR, MI – Merit Network, Inc. announced today that a webcast will take place on Wednesday, August 17, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. The webcast will update the public on Merit Network’s implementation of the REACH-3MC project.
REACH-3MC and ARRA logos
Merit Network, Inc. is in the process of building a over 2,200 mile fiber-optic backbone network throughout the state of Michigan as well as spurs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This network is being constructed with the assistance of two American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants in the amount of $102 million along with a 20 percent match in funds from Merit and its seven sub-recipients. The REACH-3MC project is one of the largest BTOP projects in the country and is expected to serve 52 counties in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula’s.

The webcast on August 17, 2011, will provide a comprehensive update on Merit’s progress on the REACH-3MC project, including information about project RFPs, community outreach, engineering and environmental assessments, and upcoming construction work. The audience will be able to submit questions by email during the webcast, which will be answered on air.

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.