Recently, the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth hosted an event to commemorate the award of grants and loans to Air Advantage LLC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative Program and discussed the progress of the project to date. This is one of the largest single awards for USDA Rural Development in Michigan and it has tremendous potential to increase the economy in the Thumb region.
Located east of Flint and north of metro Detroit, this area plays a tremendous role in the state’s agricultural economy. It also has very poor communications infrastructure, which surprising given how close it is to the heavily populated areas. In fact, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband map, Sanilac County is worse off than counties in the far more remote Upper Peninsula.
This project will change that. The funds are being used to place more than 500 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable to connect 200 towers through Bay, Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, and Tuscola counties.
The total cost of the project includes $10.2 million in private contribution by Air Advantage. In addition to area residents, the initiative also will connect 23 schools and three intermediate school districts.
Frankenmuth is a fascinating town – Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” – and the event was well-attended, with more than 80 people showing up to learn about how the project is progressing.
Joining State Director for Michigan James J. Turner was Scott Zimmer, president of Air Advantage LLC and his management team.
To learn more about USDA’s broadband program, click here.