Lansing, MI – Connect Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Public Service Commission, today released a new broadband planning report bringing the state one step closer to closing the digital divide. This report — an assessment of the state’s broadband landscape — is designed to be a catalyst for discussions on key policy goals and strategies to expand and enhance broadband opportunities for all Michigan residents.
“Michigan is making steady progress in identifying ways to expand broadband availability and adoption,” said Orjiakor Isiogu, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). “The report issued today pinpoints the areas where broadband does not yet exist, and it helps us better understand the barriers that have prevented people from adopting broadband where it is available.”
“We are pleased to partner with the Michigan Public Service Commission, broadband service providers, and leaders of the healthcare, tourism, education, agriculture, and business sectors to address the economic development opportunities that are possible through broadband,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Michigan’s nonprofit parent organization, Connected Nation. “This report presents Michigan policymakers and community leaders with a clear picture of Michigan’s broadband landscape — data critical for translating technology trends into actionable plans that will help us promote broadband use statewide.”
Connect Michigan conducted surveys of residential technology use to understand broadband demand trends across the state. The residential findings are a resource for anyone interested in understanding the common uses of technology in the state. The purpose of this research is to better understand the drivers and barriers so that planning efforts can begin tackling the core issues that affect technology and broadband adoption. Importantly, it demonstrates how local officials can utilize Connect Michigan resources to increase broadband availability in the future.
Highlights from the report:
- Statewide, 82 percent of all residents own a home computer. This translates into over 1.3 million adults in Michigan without a home computer, and close to three-fourths of those without a computer say they do not believe they need one.
- Ten percent of adults surveyed report that their only way of accessing the Internet is at a location outside their home.
- Michigan’s 67 percent broadband adoption rate indicates that approximately 30 percent of Michigan households have broadband available, but for various reasons are choosing not to subscribe to the service in the home.
- Forty-three percent of Michigan residents who do not have home broadband service say it is because they do not need Internet service or don’t understand the benefits it affords. For many, it is a matter of making the technology relevant for the user.
- Sixteen percent of Michigan households who do not subscribe to home broadband service report a lack of available broadband service. In many cases, the consumer is simply not aware that a broadband service provider is in their area. Connect Michigan has published a real-time broadband availability map that allows consumers to search for area providers.
- Eight percent of non-computer owners report they don’t have one because computers are too complicated, a digital literacy barrier that can be addressed through training programs.
Connect Michigan is working to unite public and private partners to increase the access, adoption, and use of broadband throughout the state. Connect Michigan recently hosted the first Collaborative Broadband Committee meeting. The committee has representatives from various sectors, each bringing unique perspectives to address technology use in schools, hospitals, rural communities, and businesses.
All Michigan residents are encouraged to visit the Connect Michigan website, www.connectmi.org, to join in this important initiative and offer feedback. The website gives residents a one-stop portal where they can find broadband providers at their address, check their current Internet speeds, notify officials of unserved areas, and share stories of how high-speed Internet has affected their lives.
What others are saying about the broadband report:
“The Connect Michigan report is useful (for) anyone who is interested in the facts on broadband in the state today. It reveals an adoption gap that far exceeds the gap in availability in our state. (Michigan Cable Telecommunications Association) is proud to be a part of the Collaborative Broadband Committee, providing this critical service across our state, and working to address the adoption barriers so that more Michigan residents get connected.”
- Colleen McNamara, executive director, Michigan Cable Telecommunications Association
“The Library of Michigan is proud to be a part of the important initiative that Connect Michigan is undertaking to expand technology access and use across the state. The resources that are available online and in this report are going to be helpful as we continue to implement and improve public access computing centers in public libraries. The real-life benefits of broadband are limitless and this collaborative effort helps to inform Michigan residents about e-government resources, employment tools, small business support, online literacy training, and so much more.”
- Sheryl L. Mase, assistant director, Library of Michigan, Department of Education
“We applaud Connect Michigan and the MPSC for their efforts to quantify the factors involved in broadband adoption. As their research shows, broadband services are available to 9.7 of 10 households in Michigan. Telecommunications Association of Michigan (TAM) members are doing their part by investing heavily to bring faster and faster Internet access to rural communities across the state.
“What the Connect Michigan report shows is that broadband availability far exceeds broadband adoption. Only 67 percent of residential households subscribe to high-speed Internet service. The two most common reasons people give for this is they don’t feel they need it or they don’t own a computer. We are eager to work with Connect Michigan to help focus attention on these issues so every person who wants broadband service can get it.”
- Scott Stevenson, president, Telecommunications Association of Michigan
About Connect Michigan: As a public-private partnership, Connect Michigan partners with technology-minded businesses, government entities and universities to accelerate technology in the state. The work of Connect Michigan is made possible by support from the Michigan Public Service Commission. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit www.connectmi.org.
About the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC): The MPSC is a state agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. For more information about the MPSC visit http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc.