ESCANABA, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is hopeful for recently announced government funding from The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, a $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs for all 50 states. The NTIA recently announced that Michigan’s allocation is 1.6 billion dollars.
“Highline is committed to serving over 42,000 Upper Peninsula homes with our fiber network,” said Bruce Moore, Highline CEO-Midwest. “The expeditious flow of funding is critical due to the short 100 days we have to build in the UP because of the long winter season,” he continued.
“Highline and other smaller telecommunications companies are good stewards of federal funding initiatives and are making significant investments to connect the UP. We are hopeful they will be considered for future BEAD funding,” said U.S. Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI).
“Competitive grants do not work, and BEAD must be allocated based on the serviceable locations which the funds are intended to serve,” said Jason Kronemeyer, Director of Technology and REMC 22, Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District.
Highline is on target to build a network offering gigabit fiber internet access to 23,815 UP households by the end of 2023. “We are committed to working with the State of Michigan and NTIA to develop a long-term strategy that will ensure equitable and universal access to high-speed internet for all Upper Peninsula households,” said Moore.
“As states like Michigan seek to reach residents still longing for better broadband, it is essential to leverage community-based providers with a track record of expertise and success in delivering high-quality services in nearby rural areas. With the BEAD program likely representing the last chance to connect many of these unserved areas for years to come, it will be more important than ever to learn from prior programs and ensure that providers with a demonstrated history of community commitment have a meaningful chance to extend their cutting-edge networks and help fulfill the mission of universal service in neighboring areas,” said Michael Romano, EVP, NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association.