broadband

image captured from Sen. Gary Peters' YouTube page

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has introduced a bill to improve a country-wide broadband coverage map.

Taylor Wizner

More and more school work is being done online, but some students across the country are falling behind their peers because they don’t have internet at home.

NMU brings high-speed internet to more of the U.P.

Mar 29, 2019
Educational Access Network/NMU

 

High-speed internet access is reaching even more communities in the Upper Peninsula.

Northern Michigan University plans to double the number of communities its Educational Access Network serves over the next few years.

Ten years ago, NMU received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to use public broadband airwaves. Before that, some students who lived off campus couldn’t complete their online homework because they didn’t have high-speed internet. 

Federal Communications Commission

Thousands more people could soon have broadband internet access in the Upper Peninsula. 

Software giant Microsoft Corp. has announced it’s partnering with Packerland Brodband, a small internet service provider based in Iron Mountain. 

Federal Communications Commission

Many people in northern Michigan live without access to broadband internet. Others have high-speed fiber connections. In this special call-in hour, IPR tackles the future of broadband in northern Michigan.

 

In Kalkaksa County, 60 percent of residents lack access to high-speed internet. That’s according to data from the Federal Communications Commission, which increased its standards for speed in 2015. 

More than a third of rural residents in the United States do not have access to broadband service, according to the FCC. 

The federal government wants faster Internet connections nationwide and has raised the minimum speed for what it considers broadband. That is unlikely to help the thousands of people in northern Michigan who have something like dial-up service and have for years.

Tim Ellis/Flickr

Law enforcement groups have joined the effort calling on the Legislature to slow down approval of a bill that would make it easier for phone companies to end traditional landline service, and switch customers to internet phones.

Robert Stevenson of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police says there are still too many problems with voice-over-internet ensuring reliable 911 service -- especially in rural areas.

These days, more and more people are so attached to their cell phones that they've decided they don't need a landline at home.

The FCC tells us the number of landline customers in Michigan was around 7 million in 2000. By 2012, that number had dropped to about 3 million.

And, during that same 12-year stretch, the number of wireless phones more than doubled from nearly 4 million to more than 9 million.

A bill sponsored by Battle Creek Republican Senator Mike Nofs is working its way through the State Senate. It would allow phone companies to phase out traditional landline service beginning in 2017, letting phone companies discontinue the service to homes so long as some type of newer phone service is offered, such as voice-over Internet Protocol.

Many in Michigan might just shrug that off: They've already dropped their landlines. But others are deeply concerned.

Matt Resch, public affairs director for Michigan AT&T, and Melissa Seifert, the Associate State Director of the Michigan AARP, joined us today to talk about Senate Bill 636.

Listen to the full interview above.