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Merit Network Lights Several Segments of the REACH-3MC Fiber-Optic Network

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the completion of approximately 292 additional miles of their REACH-3MC fiber-optic network build-out. Merit completed and activated the optical network equipment used to “light” the newly installed fiber to provide network services, on the following segments; Centreville to Berrien Springs (66 miles), Mount Pleasant to Prudenville (87 miles), Gaylord to Hillman (57 miles), Hart to Scottville (43 miles) and Scottville to Luther (39 miles).

The fiber-optic cable lit today is part of the REACH-3MC “mainline.” Led by Merit, the goal of REACH-3MC project 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.

These segments contain thirty one community anchor institutions receiving lateral connections along the completed network segments announced today. With the mainline now lit, Merit will coordinate with those institutions to work through their transition to the new and improved network service.

“I am proud that we are able to announce the lighting of these segments,” said Donald Welch, President and CEO for Merit. “The optical equipment activated today will give Merit the ability to light multiple 10 gigabit (Gbps) waves for communities along these segments. Merit Member anchor institutions along these routes will have 1 gigabit (Gbps) network connection to Merit’s network. We are excited about what this project means to our community and for Michigan. It has been a tremendous effort, but absolutely worth it when you look at the payoff to our members.”

Today’s announcement comes after earlier announcements of segments lit between Berrien Springs and Hart, Michigan.

REACH-3MC map that highlights new connections in the Lower Peninsula

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.