The Lieutenant Governor, Garlin Gilchrist, was visiting Marquette over the weekend for a number of events. Along with The Michigan Connected Futures Tour , he spoke at Northern Michigan University today about broadband connection in The UP
The MI High Speed Internet Office hosted the event, it was an open discussion with the Marquette community about the barriers for internet access in The UP.
Affordability, availability, resources, and application were some of the topic focused Saturdays discussions hosted by Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor focused on hearing from Yoopers about what is keeping them from accessing the internet.
The Michigan High Speed Internet Office, or MI Hi, was formed in 2021 with a mission of creating a more digitally equitable state, and delivering high speed internet access across Michigan. Allie Herkenroder is there digital equity director, during the event she said they never want to go into a community discussion making assumptions, and that their goal was to keep an open mind and listen to the issues that we’re raised.
Michigan has invested $65 billion into broadband in the state, with The UP and other parts of rural Michigan being a focus to close equity gaps. Herkenroder said they have 270 days in their planning phase to visit 40 Michigan cities and gather input to for their plans.
Saturdays event was a part of a tour with more than 40 stops around the state of Michigan. Officials with the high speed internet office say their goal is to get an understanding of what issues the u-p faces in order to create solutions.
The MI Hi office will be back in The UP in may to continue their discussions. For neighborhood associations or community organizations looking to host their own meetings, The MI Hi Office officials said they are happy to provide a “Community Meeting in A Box” containing everything you need to host your own mini-MI Connected Future meeting, to request the materials you can email LEO-MIHighSpeedInternet@michigan.gov or visit https://www.michigan.gov/leo/bureaus-agencies/mihi/miconnectedfuture