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Most Northern Michiganders know about the rarity of high-speed Internet in rural areas. And the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance says the FCC’s latest broadband map could lead to those rural areas missing out on the Internet.

The federal government is providing $42 billion to states to expand broadband access. The state must demonstrate the need to expand broadband. However, when the FCC’s map shows Michigan as “100% covered,” Henry Wolfe with the Chamber Alliance says we may be missing out.

“If we don’t make our voices heard, there’s a chance we could lose a lot of money in broadband expansion,” Wolff explains.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance works with groups like the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance to raise awareness. They’re asking Northern Michigan residents to challenge the FCC’s map. They say the more people challenge the FCC’s broadband map, the more money the state gets. Fccbroadband map3

Wolff says missing out on funding for Northern Michigan would hurt the region’s economy.

“As we all know, this is not just business. We look at education, what we went through in 2020 and 2021. “Having high-speed Internet is no longer an option,” Wolff says.

East Jordan Mayor Mark Penzien agrees that more broadband access will help Northern Michigan students and “revitalize” rural communities.

Fccbroadband map2“It’s just like freeways or side streets, you have to get to everybody,” Penzien says.

Residents can challenge the map online at the FCC’s website, something Wolf says is a little unfair.

“That’s the ironic part. Such a vital component of this process is done online. So if we have internet access issues here in Northern Michigan, that’s another barrier to making our voices heard. That’s why we do everything we can to let people know how they can [challenge]”.

Click here to view the FCC’s broadband map and submit a challenge. When you get to the site, search for your address and click on the dot representing your home. Click on “location challenge” on the right side of the screen and complete the prompt.

The deadline for submitting an appeal is January 13, 2023.



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