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Merit Network Lights REACH-3MC Network from Berrien Springs to Muskegon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the completion of approximately 135 miles of their REACH-3MC network build-out between Berrien Springs and Muskegon. Merit has completed construction on the segment and activated optical network equipment that is used to “light” the newly installed fiber and provide service.

The fiber-optic cable lit today is part of the REACH-3MC “mainline.” Led by Merit, the goal of REACH-3MC is to construct fiber-optic infrastructure that connects communities together. In the process, Merit connects community anchor institutions (schools, libraries, health care, government, public safety) by way of “laterals,” or spurs, from the mainline.

Five community anchor institutions have received lateral connections along the completed network segment announced today. With the mainline now lit, Merit expects to have those five institutions transitioned to the new and improved service made possible by REACH-3MC within a week.

“I am proud to announce fiber continuity and lit service between Berrien Springs and Muskegon,” said Bob Stovall, vice president of network operations and engineering for Merit Network. “The optical equipment activated today will give Merit the ability to light multiple 10 gigabit (Gbps) waves for communities along the REACH-3MC fiber route to leverage.”

“Merit Member anchor institutions along this route will soon have 1 gigabit (Gbps) fiber-optic lateral connections to Merit’s network. The improved service will create new opportunities for collaboration and enable them to provide more to their community and students,” he added.

Today’s announcement marks the first major segment to be lit as part of the REACH-3MC project. In July, Merit Network successfully completed and lit the portion of REACH-3MC that services the Monroe Community which included three connections to community anchor institutions. As part of the project, Merit has also connected community anchor institutions in Crystal Falls and Pellston.

Merit expects to announce several completed REACH-3MC segments in the coming weeks.


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.