By STEPHEN INGBER
Capital News Service
LANSING — For a long time, the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula have lacked access to high-speed Internet, but that’s changing, education and technology experts say. Merit Network Inc., which promotes computer networking in Michigan, won a $103 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide fiber-optic cable to “community anchor institutions.”
The focus for Merit was primarily on K-12 education and libraries, said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development at the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit company. With the grant, Merit laid 2,300 miles of fiber-optic cable across the U.P. and the northern half of the Lower Peninsula. “The Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Educational Service District benefited the most, having almost no connectivity before we came in,” Downing said. The district is headquartered in Indian River.