EUPConnect Collaborative Overview
Working collectively, instead of independently, the EUPConnect Collaborative is working as a facilitator to ensure that all households in the EUP have access to broadband infrastructure which will support 1Gbps connectivity to the internet.
Our Vision and Mission:
- 1 Gbps minimum fixed broadband service to the premises of every e911 service address in the tri-county area, including all islands with electrical service by 2025,
- 25/3 Mbps minimum mobile broadband coverage of all geographic square miles in the tri-county area, including all islands, by 2025.
To facilitate the creation of a twenty-first century broadband infrastructure throughout the EUP which will provide cyber security protection for all residents, businesses, utility companies, governmental units and institutions at a competitive pricing structure by 2025.
- Pool resources from existing and emerging funding sources to facilitate the applications for broadband infrastructure and equity funding opportunities.
- Develop public-private partnerships for infrastructure deployment
- Technical assistance for local and regional master plans with current and future regional infrastructure investment opportunities
- Remove barriers to residential broadband adoption in coordination with infrastructure investments
- Continually collect and share data to measure progress toward objectives and development of master plans
- Work with philanthropic organizations, community service groups etc., to support local funding efforts
- Establish educational programs to ensure high quality services for our communities
Current Collaborative Members
Bay Mills Township
Bay Mills Community College
Bois Blanc Pines School
Brimley Area Schools
City of Mackinac Island
City of St. Ignace
DeTour Area Schools
DeTour Arts & Technology Academy
Engadine Consolidated Schools
Helen Newberry Joy Hospital
JKL Bahweting School
Kinross Charter Township
Lake Superior Academy
Lake Superior State University
Les Cheneaux Community Schools
Mackinac Island Public Schools
Mackinac Straits Hospital
Moran Township Schools
MyMichigan Medical Center-Sault
Ojibwe Charter School
Pickford Public Schools
Rudyard Area Schools
Sault Ste. Marie Area Schools
St. Ignace Area Schools
Sugar Island Township
Tahquamenon Area Schools
Three Lakes Academy
Community of Partnerships
Access to reliable and affordable internet is a prerequisite for sustainable economic growth in the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP). Delivering healthcare and education services effectively requires high speed internet. Banks, businesses, entrepreneurs, and local units of government require consistent, secure access to high-speed internet to reach customers. Unfortunately, service across the EUP is often unavailable, unreliable, or inadequate. This was made even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this reality is far-reaching. Equitable access throughout our communities is imperative.
This does not need to be our accepted norm any longer. There are exciting new opportunities in expansion and upgrades of services. Recent investments by our private sector partners in our communities have improved service. The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is injecting $37 million into the EUP. Local communities and schools are receiving an influx of stimulus relief. The list of opportunities goes on.
How do we help? We start by building the community of partnerships that will share the burden to resolve inequitable access to connectivity in our region. Not-for-profit organizations need to take the lead and create the right organizational structure to facilitate everyone, public and private, working together.
Now is the time for action! There is urgent need to leverage the collective investment of all our partners to connect education, healthcare, communities, and industry.
For several years, the EUP Intermediate School District has been working on a cost effective broadband service for the three eastern-most counties of the UP. This goal was an out-growth of the services the EUP had been providing, since the 1990’s of internet services to area educational institutions. The holdup until now has been funding.
Significant investment is being made in broadband infrastructure to ensure we are able to close the digital divide once and for all. Every key sector in our community gets extra points on their applications for funding if broadband infrastructure is part of the planned investment.
Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC program that helps connect families and households struggling to afford internet service. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides
- Up to $30/month discount for broadband service
- Up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Who is Eligible?
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines;
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program.
The following ACP participating providers service areas of the EUP:
- Astrea (fixed wireless and cable)
- Jamadots (fiber to the home and dsl)
- Highline (fiber to the home)
- Michigan Broadband (dsl)
- TDS Telecom (dsl)
- Spectrum (cable and fiber to the home)
- Brightspeed (dsl)
- T-Mobile (fixed wireless)
- Verizon (fixed wireless)
- AT&T (fixed wireless)
Two-Steps to Enroll
- Go to ACPBenefit.org to submit an application or print out a mail-in application; and
- Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete.
Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.
Check out www.fcc.gov/ACP for a Consumer FAQ and other program resources.
Call to Action: Building a Network of CommunitiesPosted by Jason Kronemeyer on 2/3/2023
EUPConnect Broadband Infrastructure Survey LaunchedPosted by Jason Kronemeyer on 7/8/2022 4:00:00 PM
EUPConnect Collaborative Launch: Informational MeetingPosted by Jason Kronemeyer on 4/30/2021 10:15:00 AM
EUPConnect Broadband Infrastructure Survey is Ongoing.
The EUPConnect Collaborative Initiative is working to ensure broadband access for rural areas throughout the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP). We're asking for your help to make this possible.
Over the past few weeks, every household in the 3 counties was sent a postcard with instructions on how to participate in the survey. The survey may be completed digitally on the web or a paper survey available by request for those who might not have access. The survey will take about 5-minutes to complete with one response requested for every household, business, vacation, or recreational property with a 911 service address. The results of this short survey will be used to facilitate public-private partnerships which will seek funding from state and federal sources for broadband infrastructure deployment in the region.
Help us and help your community by taking our EUPConnect Broadband Infrastructure Survey.
Help us ensure that we know exactly where we need investment to improve our access to every household and business throughout Chippewa, Mackinac and Luce Counties!