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Merit Network, with its deep expertise in advanced networking, and over 700 connections to Michigan’s community anchor, government, and non-profit institutions, is in a unique position to catalyze unserved communities towards achieving broadband access.

Merit’s goal is to act as a central source for information, education and resources for the planning, building and running of community networks. We intend to strengthen relationships between community champions, facilitate public/private partnerships and to support and encourage bipartisan policy which benefits broadband availability in Michigan.

Merit’s approach focuses on three key areas:

1. Data & Mapping:

  • Conducting a crowdsourced approach to broadband data collection

  • Utilizing the Citizen Scientist data reports to gain insight as to where and at what speeds broadband is available at a household granularity level

2. Funding:

  • Analyzing the crowdsourcing data to paint an accurate picture of Michigan’s connectivity

  • Implementing a three-year community education plan to increase public awareness

  • Leveraging the citizen-scientist data reports to seek infrastructure grants (inclusive of state, federal and foundation sources)

3. Policy:

  • Highlighting that broadband connectivity is a bipartisan issue

  • Providing resources to help communities navigate through the proposal writing and grant application process, end user devices and education, and ongoing subsidy support

The Michigan Moonshot team hopes to provide everything that might be needed to plan, build and run a community network through our Phased Connectivity Plan.

Phase One:

  • Developing a citizen science/crowdsourcing approach to assessing the homework gap in a more granular manner

  • Sharing information statewide

  • Fostering public-private partnerships

  • Building educational events and tools

Phase Two:

  • Establishing unbiased community connectivity teams to provide expertise in data analysis, broadband technologies, financing, sustainability, grant writing, project management and network construction

  • Assisting in navigating community planning grants through state and philanthropic means

  • Helping communities acquire one-time construction subsidies