Fiber Optic Planning Grant Awarded


October 26, 2018 

For more information, contact: Jason Kronemeyer, Director of Technology 906-632-3373 x5124


Fiber optic planning grant awarded

Community partners’ ongoing efforts to overcome the rural broadband challenges for the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) are moving forward. The Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD), with the support of the Mackinac Economic Alliance and Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission (EUPRPDC), has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for broadband infrastructure planning.


The EUP Broadband Planning Initiative will provide a blue print for a fiber network improving access, reliability, and security for business as well as education, utility, healthcare and other community anchors. Most importantly, this plan will provide the roadmap to further broadband infrastructure throughout the region with economic development as the priority. Broadband is a utility which is a seemingly impossible challenge to overcome in the region.


This planning initiative will build off previous efforts to understand the current state of broadband infrastructure assets and economic need for eConnectivity in rural EUP. Having a clear understanding of economic need and existing public assets will inform the blueprint of the proposed fiber network. However, before any fiber optic cable can be constructed, current assets and available services must be evaluated and mapped across Mackinac, Chippewa, and Luce Counties. New data will be collected and combined for analysis with data from previous initiatives conducted by Connected Nation - Michigan and Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) projects. The plan will produce build-out routes, focusing on middle-mile infrastructure and increasing access nodes throughout our region. 


Along with infrastructure buildout, planning for an organization to execute the partnerships necessary for financing, construction and operation of the network will be critical for sustainability. By evaluating the most efficient routes, costs of labor and materials, project coordinators will have the information they need to project costs for organizational partners both public and private.  These partners will be institutions that have the need for dedicated fiber connections and access to funds associated with such a project.   While these partners will benefit directly from access to a dedicated fiber network (they will be able to transmit information with unprecedented speed and security), our communities will reap the benefits created by new public – private partnerships.


Communities that are served by this network will have access to high capacity, secure, reliable eConnectivity, providing access education, healthcare, and business opportunities.  A public -private fiber network will reduce the cost for internet service providers to expand their service to the unserved and underserved areas of communities.  The outcome will be communities that, with access to this essential utility, are better equipped to thrive in a globalized economy. 

“Equipping our students with the necessary tools to excel in the classroom and prepare for life after graduation will ensure our communities continue to grow and thrive,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters. “This partnership will allow the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District to provide their classrooms with stronger, more reliable connections to the internet, and help prepare their students for the careers of the future.”


If you or your organization would like to get involved/or learn how your organization can help this effort, please contact Jason Kronemeyer, EUPISD Director of Technology at 906-632-3373 x5124.