Push underway to expand fast Internet service in rural areas

Capital News Service
LANSING – A vast majority of state residents have access to high-speed Internet, a tool which the global marketplace increasingly relies on, according to the Telecommunication Association of Michigan. Even so, pockets of the state still struggle with slow broadband speeds. “The broadband industry is based on household density,” said Eric Frederick, executive director of Connect Michigan and Connected Nation’s vice president of community affairs. “Broadband providers need a certain number of customers in an area in order to make their build-out of infrastructure profitable.”

Connect Michigan is a nonprofit tech organization that works to expand broadband. At its annual conference this month, speakers pushed for innovative ways to raise the supply and demand for broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

A study promotes teleworking, flexible job schedules

Capital News Service
LANSING – Even without a rigid 8-to-5 working schedule, employees in the state could be more productive – with higher job satisfaction, according to a new report from a group that encourages telecommuting. “Teleworking, enabled by broadband, allows employees the flexibility to work from home when needed, save their budgets on gas and increase productivity by reducing many interruptions to workflow as often experienced in the offices,” said Eric Frederick, program manager at Connect Michigan. “It also entices younger generations to continue living in the state after graduation.”
Connect Michigan is a nonprofit organization leading the effort to increase high-speed Internet access to ensure the state’s competitiveness in a global economy. It is a partner of the Public Service Commission. A number of employers such as Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo have been offering flexible work hours to some employees for several years.