Members of Michigan’s Urban and Rural Communities Express Concerns About Affordability and Access to Reliable High-Speed Internet
FLINT, Michigan (WJRT) – (02/06/2021) – At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were forced to rely on the internet just to get by: work from home, learn online, and keep up loved ones while stuck at home.
However, in many areas of the state, the high speed internet they needed to achieve this was not available.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Wednesday she was doing something about it, creating a new state office to expand access to all corners of Michigan.
Some of the ongoing issues facing urban and rural communities include affordability and access.
With a budget package that included TV, phone and internet, Brittny Giles struggled to teach her four young children online without any technical issues.
“When you got along with teachers, the internet was so slow that the teacher’s face would show, but it just stopped,” Giles said.
The problems continued for a few more months until Giles updated his internet plan. Now her broadband plan can support all her kids on their devices until the end of the school year in mid-June, but at nearly $ 150 per month, that cuts her money spent on others. expenses like gasoline and activities for her children.
“I think it’s very unfair that I have to pay extra just to get the speed my kids need to be in class. I am a single mother. I have four children. I do everything myself and I pay $ 150 a month just to have them internet, it’s not really fair, ”Giles said.
Governor Whitmer on Wednesday announced that the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, using COVID-19 relief money to ensure that every home and business in Michigan has the high-speed internet they need at a price they can pay.
“I’m sure as they build and expand we will eventually get it, but I’m sure it will be rather slow to go up this way, but it will be very well received.” , said Mark Heberling.
Heberling lives in Sanilac County, where only half of the households have access to the speeds necessary to perform basic functions such as checking your email or browsing the web.
“7:30 am, 8:00 am, it’s getting slow. I mean it’s hard to download different stuff there. For example, if you want to watch a news article, it’s very difficult to get hold of, ”Heberling said.
Heberling hopes the plan will provide better access to rural areas, so he can do things in modern life like video streaming and video chatting with out-of-state family members.
The governor did not announce a timetable for expanding high-speed service to all parts of Michigan on Wednesday.
Stick with ABC12 for updates.
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