Biden administration awards Michigan $250 million for high-speed internet

The Biden administration on Thursday announced Michigan will receive about $250 million to install cable and other infrastructure needed to provide high-speed broadband internet to rural areas and other parts of the state that lack it.

The funding was included in a COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress in 2021 and comes in connection with another effort, the Affordable Connectivity Program, which currently offers internet discounts of up to $30 a month to lower-income households.

Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to Biden and a native Michigander, announced the funding on a call with reporters Thursday afternoon. The funding is expected to build out high-speed broadband internet service to nearly 68,000 homes and businesses that currently lack it through a grant program run by the state.

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The program calls for installing internet service that can provide upload and download speeds of 100 megabits per second, which is considered high speed by the Federal Communications Commission. Michigan's award is expected to provide high-speed internet to about a quarter of the area in the state that currently doesn't have it.

The administration has been making a series of announcements about internet funding for states. Thursday's call also touched on awards for Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, were on the call with Sperling and praised the award as needed to help Michiganders, especially those living in rural areas.

"It's obviously unacceptable to see people … have to pull into a McDonald’s to get their Wi-Fi," said Kildee. "Access to reliable fast internet is important to every aspect of modern life."

Stabenow added, "It is part of equity and opportunity going forward. .... We had way too many people left behind."

For more information about how to qualify for and receive internet service discounts, go to https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov.

Contact Todd Spangler: tspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@tsspangler.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan gets $250 million to expand high speed internet