An Upper Peninsula city celebrated the completion of new $130 million dollar project Wednesday.
Ann Arbor-based Merit completed new segments of its Broadband Stimulus Project in Menominee.
The project, Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Healthcare – Merit’s Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC), helps connect rural and underserved areas in Michigan with more than 2,200 miles of broadband infrastructure.
“When you look north of Mount Pleasant, there’s no more public universities until you get to the U.P. and the infrastructure from Mount Pleasant north is terrible, so we needed this infrastructure,” Merit’s Vice President of Member Relations Elwood Downing said. “Also if you look there’s no major interstates north of Flint–there’s only I-75–so therefore building this infrastructure to provide service to the rest of the community is really important.”
“So the analogy between the super information highway to the interstate system there’s something to be said about that.”
“It leverages technology, reduces cost,” Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks said. “It will allow our county–not only in terms of government, schools–to reach out throughout the U.P. , but also out of the U.P. and in other areas where there’s services and support that will make our area that much more connected to the outside world.”
The new broadband allows Menominee, and other U.P. cities, to connect to broadband services at a lower cost and consolidates services.
“The community can now begin doing things regionally and share resources and build out the economic development here,” Downing said. “It then expands them broader to be able to share services with other counties throughout the state. And a lot of counties are doing that, they really are.”
“We’re going to have improved productivity, efficiency at a lower cost. And that’s good when it comes to government, because the tax payers are paying the bill and if we can make that bill smaller then we’re doing our jobs right,” Marks said.
For more information on Merit and Project REACH-3MC, visit their website.