Michigan to award $238M in broadband grants to AT&T, Charter, Frontier

Michigan intends to dish out $238 million in federal funding to AT&T, Charter and other providers for 24 projects that aim to connect nearly 106,000 locations in the state.

Funding is administered through Michigan’s Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program, with federal dollars coming from the Capital Projects Fund.

The release did not state how much funding each grantee will receive, as a Michigan state rep told Fierce those awards have yet to be finalized. The initial grant recommendations must first go through a 45-day comment and objection window.

“At the end of the objection window, MIHI (Michigan High-Speed Internet Office) will validate the objections received and prorate grant amounts based on the reduction of locations to be served for projects impacted by validated objections,” the spokesperson added.

Charter is poised to receive eight awards to cover over 28,000 locations with symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber in Michigan’s Cheboygan, Montcalm, Lake, Kent, Newaygo, Missaukee, Manistee and Kalamazoo counties. Each project involves constructing a last-mile fiber-to-the-premises network via Ethernet passive optical network (EPON).

Point Broadband Fiber Holding and the Great Lakes Energy electric cooperative are expected to get funding for three projects apiece. Great Lakes Energy intends to deliver up to 1 Gbps in symmetrical fiber broadband for 14,485 locations in 11 counties. Whereas Point Broadband plans to expand its fiber network to over 21,000 locations in 21 counties.

Other notable recipients include AT&T, which is looking to build a fiber network with up to 5 Gbps symmetrical speeds for 3,304 locations in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, along with Brightspeed, Frontier and Surf Internet. The latter recently hit 20,000 fiber subscribers across Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The full list of recipients and the projects they plan to complete can be found here.

“These grant dollars will help make internet more affordable for thousands of Michiganders, allowing them greater access to critical resources such as remote education, telemedicine, and online networking and job searching tools,” stated Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

According to MIHI, it received a total of 154 grant applications from 40 providers. This week’s 11 pending grant winners plan to commit more than $311 million in matching funds.