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Blog // Connect Michigan

Broadband Helps Local Farmers

By Chris McGovern

It’s June, and that means the start of summer. Around here, that equals the end of classes, evenings on the lake, and the return of the summer farmers market.  Even though the county’s open air market feels like it’s a thousand miles from technology, local farmers are still benefiting from the ability to use broadband to grow, advertise, and sell their wares. The entire agricultural sector benefits from the access and usage of broadband service. In May, a Hudson Institute report noted that rural broadband services supported over $100 billion in e-commerce and nearly 70,000 jobs in 2015.  While that figure includes e-commerce from a...

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USDA Accepting Applications for $11M in Grants To Further Broadband to Rural Communities

By Amanda Murphy

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for grants through its Community Connect program. This program helps fund broadband access in unserved communities and is administered by USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. More than $11 million in grants will be awarded for broadband infrastructure, as well as broadband for community centers and public institutions. For 2016, the minimum grant amount will be $100,000, and the maximum is $3 million. For more information on the application process for the grants, see the April 18, 2016 Federal Register. Read the news release distributed by the USDA on April 18, 2016.

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USDA Grant Funds Rural Telemedicine and E-Learning

By Eric Frederick

 The USDA is making $19 million available to rural areas seeking to expand distance learning opportunities and telemedicine. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program gives schools, government groups, non-profits, businesses, and others the opportunity to obtain equipment and instruction that can benefit local students, teachers, doctors, and, most importantly, the community.  Nearly one fifth of America’s population resides in rural areas, as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau. These nearly 59.5 million people are spread over more than 90% of the nation’s land area, making it exceedingly difficult to concentrate...

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New Money Available for Rural Broadband Expansion

By Jeremy Thacker

Rural residents may see new Internet service coming their way thanks to grant money from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Rural Development division just announced more than $10.3 million will be distributed among high-speed Internet providers. Interested providers must apply for the Community Connect grant program before June 18. The program already has several success stories to share, like the Tatitlek community on the Prince William Sound in Alaska. They are the kind of stories that are the reason Connect Michigan exists and why we’re working hard for the expansion of broadband access, adoption, and use across the...

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