The state of Michigan wants to increase broadband in rural areas. The Connecting Michigan Communities grant program is offering $20 million to internet service providers willing to expand access to unserved parts of the state. Providers can apply for up to $5 million per grant and can apply for multiple projects. Applications close Aug 30, with awards tentatively announced for April 2020 in time for the summer construction season. All projects must be completed by Sept. 30, 2023.
Gov. Janet Mills (D-Maine) signed a bill aiming to protect internet customers. The amended bill says internet service providers that are contracted by the state have to agree to provide “net neutral service.” The law defines “net neutral service” as providing internet service without blocking lawful content or favoring some websites to benefit others. Maine would also require such providers to agree they won’t inappropriately “throttle,” or slow down, internet traffic based on content.
In what has become known as the homework gap, an estimated 17 percent of US students do not have access to computers at home and 18 percent do not have home access to broadband internet (nearly 3 million students), according to an Associated Press analysis of census data. The consequences can be dire for children in these situations, because students with home internet consistently score higher in reading, math, and science.
Georgia officials are creating a detailed map of every location in the state that lacks high-speed internet. State officials are also establishing requirements for broadband grants and conducting an analysis of state property that could be used to expand broadband access. An estimated 1.6 million people in the state lack access to high-speed internet service, cutting them off from educational, health care and business opportunities, state officials say.