More Michigan firms and residents have access to broadband speeds needed for business data and complex applications than they did earlier this year, according to a new report released by Connect Michigan.
Conducted as part of a grant program for the state, the research found that 98.4 percent of Michigan residents have access to the higher speeds needed for sending and retrieving large files or using complex online business systems. In comparison, 95.9 percent of Michigan residents had the access in April.
“Broadband has become so fundamental to our economy and the way we conduct business that not having access to broadband becomes a distinct disadvantage in today’s online marketplace,” says Dan Manning, a technology adviser for Connect Michigan.
Additionally, Manning says a recent study of small businesses in Michigan showed that firms that are ‘connected’ and have their own website produce four to fives times the annual revenue (on average) of those businesses that lacked such tools.
Michigan generally ranks in the middle regarding overall broadband availability compared to the rest of the country, with some significant improvements over the past few years, Manning says.
Connect Michigan is working to bring faster broadband to 25 to 30 communities through Michigan, where the organization has created teams of local leaders from multiple sectors (government, schools, economic development organizations, libraries, public safety) who have a stake in successful access and use of broadband.
“We have facilitated many cases where (service) providers have addressed specific needs for service in the local communities by erecting additional towers, increasing speeds and bandwidth, and building constructive ongoing relationships between providers and the broadband team to plan for future enhancements,” Manning says.