(Mlive) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday announced the creation of the new Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, which will aim to expand access to reliable, high-speed internet connections across the state. The announcement comes after more than a year of some Michiganders working or attending school remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes after more than a year of some Michiganders working or attending school remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has only confirmed how the lack of high-speed internet access can cause too many Michiganders to struggle in their ability to engage in online learning, to use telemedicine to seek needed healthcare, to search for a new job or to take advantage of all the online resources,” Whitmer said in a press release.
“A fully connected Michigan is essential for our state to reach its economic potential in the 21st century global economy.”
Under a directive signed by the governor that creates the office, it is formed under the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. It will include a Chief Connectivity Officer.
An estimated 381,000 households in Michigan don’t have access to fixed broadband internet, defined as a connection with download speeds of 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second by the Federal Communications Commission.
Whitmer previously formed a task force to work across state departments on internet connectivity efforts and also signed a grant program into law.
Whitmer also recently vetoed a bill that would have created a tax exemption for some broadband equipment.