LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) -Faster internet will soon spread across the state.
Millions of dollars in grant money will go toward Michigan State University’s collaboration with a non-profit to build infrastructure that’ll allow faster internet in underserved homes.
MSU will be awarded $10.5 million dollars In federal money in its collaboration with The Merit Network to build better infrastructure through a program called Moon-Light.
Soon, Michiganders will have faster internet from the comfort of their homes, especially in communities where access is needed the most.
The Biden administration awarded the funds to upgrade infrastructure all across Michigan, and the pandemic was one of the reasons why.
“We had families trying to work from home, and at the same time students were in those homes trying to complete coursework, and it really highlighted the problem that poor infrastructure does to Michigan citizens,” said the CEO of Merit Joe Sawasky.
Those involved say this will help children, at-home workers, and people who need tele-health, especially in disadvantaged communities.
“You think how easy is it for you to apply for a job, if you don’t have internet access right now? said MSU Vice President for Administrations Melissa Woo. “And even filling out an employment form often requires broadband internet access.”
A survey by Pen and Paper proved more than 3,000 students that were 13 and older in 21 rural schools have fewer digital skills because of the lack of internet access. Something Melissa Woo says will now be a difference maker for at least 17,000 households in our state.
“For children now, it can teach them the skills they need in digital literacy to become really really great workers in the future, and enable them to take full advantage of our digital society,” Woo said.
All this will be accomplished through something the team is building called the Middle Mile. This will give those in rural areas access to a faster broadband internet connection.
“Moon-Light is like the highway that will carry you long distances” said Charlotte Bewersdorff, who works in Government Relations for The Merit Network. “Perhaps if you were going from Lansing to Traverse City, you would take the highway verses taking the side roads, so you can essentially think of the Middle Mile as a highway for highspeed connectivity.”
MSU and Merit officials say this would not have been possible without their ability to work together.
“Universities have such an ability and capacity to advance the state of infrastructure, the state of learning, the workforce, development issues can be solved. So we’re thrilled with the partnership,” said Sawasky.
Those involved in this effort say the Middle Mile will take 12 months to be completed. It’s expected to be done sometime next year.