A fiber-optic infrastructure dedication to celebrate the completed segments of a Broadband stimulus project and a connection between the two peninsulas took place Tuesday.
Merit Network, Inc. held the event in both the Mackinaw Area Public Library and the St. Ignace Public Library simultaneously on Tuesday. The two locations hosted key stakeholders for the project, who made comments on the positive impacts the project will have on Northern Michigan. Speakers at each location were shown via video at both places to show what the new fiber was capable of.
Senator Carl Levin made some opening comments over video conferencing from Washington, D.C. Other representatives from Merit Network, libraries, schools, townships, political offices and the Mackinac Bridge Authority also made statements.
Merit Network Public Relations Communications & Community Development Director Patty Giorgio has said although there is still work left to do in the western Upper Peninsula, the three partner universities in the Upper Peninsula, including Lake Superior State University, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan University, are now tied into Lower Peninsula universities with a 10 gigabyte connection.
Cheboygan County was included in Round II of the project, of which several segments are complete. J. Ranck Electric of Mt. Pleasant was the primary contractor for the six segments of the fiber optic build that touch Cheboygan County.
Merit is a middle-mile provider, which means it only coordinates the running of the main fiber. It will be up to local Internet service providers and sub-recipients to bring Broadband service to homes and businesses. Fifty-two counties make up the project service area.
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