LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) is set to receive funding after a push by advocates to approve a supplemental budget plan.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that she will be signing a mid-year supplemental budget after the Michigan House and Senate approved it last Thursday.
The budget includes several investments including money for MIHI to begin addressing the high-speed internet concern in the state.
“While this entire funding package is huge for Michigan, I want to focus on the small but important part that myself and our partners have been laser-focused on for the past few months,” said Joanne Galloway, executive director of the Center for Change Northern Michigan Advocacy. “While the Governor created the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office last summer through executive order, we needed the legislators to take action, and at last, they have. We can do good things when we work together.”
MIHI will work to bring much needed high-speed internet to rural and other underserved communities in Michigan. The high-speed internet will give families reliable internet access to finish school assignments, access telemedicine services, put their small businesses on a level playing field and video chat with their loved ones.
“I am excited that our Governor and the legislature are making MIHI a reality so rural communities have the resources they need to connect and thrive,” said Bob Thompson, president of Michigan Farmers Union.
“Family farmers need to closely monitor commodity markets, have access to educational programming, make the most out of opportunities presented by federal and state loans and grants, and purchase and deliver necessary farm inputs, parts and other supplies, all of which require a stable internet connection."
According to MIHI, households with a broadband connection see an estimated economic impact of $1,850 per year and farmers who gain high-speed internet access experience an average 6% increase in farm revenue.
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