Feds Giving State $1.5 Billion to Boost High-Speed Internet Access

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is set to receive more than $1.5 billion through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, funding designed to expand high-speed internet access and digital equity to over 200,000 Michiganders in unserved and underserved areas across the state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration made the announcement Monday.

Funding for the program comes from the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). In a release, Whitmer said the money will “help close the digital divide” and help ensure Michigan residents have access to affordable, reliable and high-speed internet.   

 “We have won a game-changing investment to expand access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet to 210,000 more homes across Michigan,” Whitmer said. “We are focused on helping anyone ‘Make it in Michigan,’ with a comprehensive view on economic development that wins projects, invests in people, and revitalizes places. Today’s win will expand economic opportunity for Michiganders and build on the over $700 million in high-speed internet federal funding we have leveraged and $249 million we invested with the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan last year.”   

 Each state and territory received a minimum of $100 million and the remainder of their allocation is based on the number of locations currently unserved by high-speed internet as identified on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) National Broadband Map.   

 The Michigan High Speed Internet Office will finish the required BEAD 5-Year Action Plan that will set the vision, goals, and priorities for the implementation of the funds. Following the plan, MIHI will develop the BEAD Initial Proposal that will define the subgrant processes that will deploy the funds to achieve the universal availability of high-speed internet across the state.   

 “The MIHI team is thrilled to see the announcement of the BEAD program,” said Eric Frederick, Chief Connectivity Officer with the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office.This grant is crucial to achieve affordable, reliable high-speed internet for all Michiganders and close the digital equity gap here in Michigan.”  

 The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is administering the BEAD Program along with additional funding programs that promote innovation and economic growth by supporting efforts to expand broadband connectivity, including the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) Grant Program.  

 ”Access to high-speed internet means access to jobs, education, and healthcare. These investments in high-speed internet infrastructure will mean that even the most remote areas of Michigan have equitable access to high-speed internet,” said Zachary Kolodin, Michigan’s Chief Infrastructure Office and Director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office. “The federal funding we’ve received from the BEAD program will allow us to connect more than 200,000 underserved households to high-quality, high-speed internet, ensuring that every home in all of Michigan’s 83 counties has broadband access.”

Michigan will begin deploying the BEAD program funds mid- to late-2024.