Lt. Gov. Gilchrist offers support for high-speed internet expansion in UP
MARQUETTE, MI— Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist threw his support Wednesday behind a plan to expand access to high-speed internet in the U.P.
During a visit to Marquette, the lieutenant governor met with officials from Highline Michigan. They want to put down 6,000 miles of fiberoptic lines to underserved and unserved households in rural areas.
Gilchrist says having high-speed, high-quality internet connectivity is a game-changer in a lot of ways.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity to not only improve the quality of life in the U.P., but set a new standard for the state of Michigan.”
Local economic officials say it’s critical to attract more residents to the region.
InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante says since 1970, the Upper Peninsula has lost 48 percent of its K-12 students. Since 2001, it’s lost 26 percent of the K-12 population.
“Just as one example of how significant that is, translate that into today’s education dollars. That would mean that we are losing every year 100 million dollars in education funding in the Upper Peninsula itself.”
Gilchrist also toured Northern Michigan University’s Cybersecurity Institute during his Marquette stop.