Huron County Broadband Committee releases survey findings and actions for improving internet access, speeds

More than 770 surveys completed across county
reflect the need for expanded broadband service 

Huron County, Michigan (June 23, 2021) – The Huron County Broadband Committee has released its key broadband survey findings and upcoming actions for improving broadband (high-speed internet) access and speeds across the county.

The Committee, working in partnership with Connected Nation Michigan (CN Michigan), collected data from 682 residential households, 34 businesses, and 40 other public organizations to better understand their connectivity needs and help develop a plan to bring faster and more reliable broadband service throughout the county.

“When the Huron County Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors initiated the work, they understood how important broadband service was to all segments of the Huron County economy.” said Carl Osentoski, Executive Director of Huron County Economic Development and chair of the county’s broadband committee. “Using this survey data and valuable information about current federal and state broadband initiatives, Connected Nation Michigan helped us understand and develop a plan that will bring significant connectivity improvements for our county’s residents, businesses and public organizations.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided the funding for the Huron County Broadband Assessment conducted by CN Michigan.

From December 2020 to April 2021, CN Michigan’s staff and the Huron County Broadband Committee collected important broadband-related data from area residents and businesses. The surveys showed, among other things, that:

  • 92% of Huron County’s households currently subscribe to a broadband service and pay on average of $67 per month
  • Of the 8% of households that do not subscribe to a broadband service, over half of them indicate that broadband is not available at their address
  • On average, Huron County households experience 21% slower download speeds vs. other communities (27 Mbps vs. 34 Mbps)

New federal funding will help expand internet access

One major development that occurred during the course of this work was the commitment of $10.8 million of federal broadband funding for Huron County through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). 

This significant investment will help deliver 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps broadband service to more 3,900 households and businesses in Huron County over the next six years. Atlantic Engineering Group (AEG), Thumb Electric Fiber (TEC Fiber), CenturyLink and Mercury Broadband will be the participating broadband providers and investors in this initiative.

The Technology Action Plan developed with CN Michigan provides guidance and support for that upcoming work. Some of the key recommendations for expanding access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technologies across the county in the near term include:

  • Identify and prioritize specific geographic areas across the county in need of service expansion or improvements,
  • Engage with winning RDOF providers to understand their plans and look for opportunities to accelerate/ease/maximize broadband expansion
  • Work with other local broadband providers to assess targeted unserved and underserved areas for potential buildout,
  • Evaluate and develop additional public-private partnerships to support the deployment of expanded broadband service,
  • Identify and pursue opportunities to improve download speeds for the Agricultural and Local Government organizations in the county, and
  • Promote available low-cost broadband service offerings to help address cost issues for vulnerable populations.

You can find details on survey results and the county broadband assessment at: https://myconnectedcommunity.org/huron-county-1/

To learn more about the Connected Community Engagement Program, head to: https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/connect-my-community/.

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About Connected Nation Michigan: CN Michigan is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.hatfield.marketing and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

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