WASHTENA COUNTY, Mich. – Washtenaw County leaders hope a multimillion-dollar investment will bring high-speed, reliable broadband Internet access to homes along every dirt road and every area of the county that currently lacks a good connection.
To do so, they worked for years to secure state and federal grants before voting for them last year invest nearly $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars in an attempt to fill any gaps left by these other programs.
They are now ready to give residents an update on their progress on Monday, September 26.
Officials will hold a “broadband town hall” at Sylvan City Hall, 18027 Old US 12, Chelsea, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., according to a news release.
“A lot of progress has been made over the past year, and we’re excited to bring this update to community members and help them get their questions answered,” said County Commissioner Jason Maciejewski, who represents District 1, which covers much of northwest Washtenaw County, in statement.
Maciejewski will join Shannon Beaman, District 3, and County Board Chairwoman Sue Schink, District 2, as well as county staff at the public meeting, officials said.
They will provide information on a broadband gap project being promoted by the Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force, on which Matejewski and Beeman served. After several years of work and projects to connect residents, the body is set to present its final report to elected officials this fall, Matejewski said during the Sept. 21 county board meeting.
In June, officials announced that they had connected the first home of more than 3,000 planned to be served with US dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Jared Mauch, a Scio Township man who started his own fiber internet service provider to provide a reliable connection for himself and his neighbors, was selected as the contractor for the project and connected a household in Lima Township.
As MLive/The Ann Arbor News previously reported, Mauch’s parent company has teamed up with two Fortune 500 telecommunications giants and a longtime utility cooperative with customers in three Midwestern states as district contractors working to close broadband gaps in as part of the district program.
Through their efforts and other programs, Washtenaw County hopes to become one of the first counties in Michigan with universal high-speed access.
Project managers are expected to report on progress and timelines for completion of the work at City Hall on Monday.
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