Senate approves broadband expansion

The state Senate approved legislation aimed at expanding broadband access after similar legislation was vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Senate Bill 46 would promote investment in broadband equipment with the hope of bringing more high-speed internet infrastructure and service to underserved areas of the state. The legislation aims to prompt investors to upgrade their equipment and expand services to areas that currently do not offer high-speed internet.

The importance of broadband internet has been greatly heightened during the pandemic. During the last year, families across the state have been required to stay at home for work and their children’s education. Michiganders, especially in rural areas, have felt the impact of having unreliable or even no access to the internet.

Gov. Whiter recently vetoed a similar bill from the House of Representatives. Her reasoning for vetoing the legislation was because she claimed the internet speeds in the bill weren’t high enough. Her reasoning falls short for many struggling families who are still forced to use dial-up internet or no internet access at all.

Since the governor has been unwilling to compromise as Michiganders continue to struggle with internet availability, SB 46 has added the governor’s speed requirements to quickly give Michigan families a solution to their broadband needs.

The updated legislation has passed both the House and Senate and has been presented to the governor.