MPSC: Clare County Earns "Connected" Broadband Status, Makes Wireless Broadband for Agriculture a Priority

Contact:  Judy Palnau, 517-241-3323
Agency:  Michigan Public Service Commission  

November 6, 2013 - The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today commended Clare County for becoming the seventh community in Michigan to be certified as a "community" that has developed a broadband and technology plan to expand broadband access, adoption and use. Clare County joins Charlevoix, Antrim, St. Clair, Roscommon, Livingston and Mecosta counties to earn this distinction in Michigan.  

"Clare County in 2011 became the first community in the nation to join Connected Nation's community engagement program, one designed to guide communities through an assessment of their overall broadband and technology innovation," said MPSC Commissioner Sally Talberg. "Now, as the latest 'connected' community in Michigan, Clare County has demonstrated it is ready to attract more and better broadband to the area."

Clare County's broadband action plan has identified five priority projects: creating local jobs via teleworking opportunities; developing a broadband awareness program focused on agricultural businesses; developing or identifying a broadband training and awareness program for small and medium businesses; facilitating a technology summit; and pursuing next generation 911 upgrades.

Clare County is the second "connected" community in Michigan to identify agricultural businesses as a broadband priority. Commissioner Talberg and MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush recently toured several Michigan farms that demonstrated how wireless broadband helps farmers be more productive and expands access to markets.

"Clare County joins an elite group of Michigan communities that have completed the broadband certification process," Talberg added. "These communities understand that their success includes access to reliable high-speech networks, digital literacy of residents and the use of online resources locally for business, agriculture, government, and leisure."

Other Michigan communities are working with Connect Michigan toward the Connectedsm certification, including the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission; the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission; and the counties of Barry, Delta, Gladwin, Marquette, Osceola, Oscoda, and Wexford, among others. Several others have formed teams or have indicated interest.

Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband access, adoption and use.

The MPSC has issued a consumer tips sheet on broadband availability in Michigan and other helpful information.

The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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