LANSING – A tax credit to ease the cost of broadband internet service is among the recommendations of a state task force examining the status of broadband use in the state and ways to increase access.
The report also calls for the establishment of a permanent commission focused on broadband access within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that focuses on implementing the goals laid out in the report, such as having every household and business in the state connected to 25 megabytes per second broadband by 2022. It urges seeking legislative action on this item this year.
The report urges a myriad of partnerships to improve access as well.
Michigan ranks 30th among the states and territories for broadband availability at 25 megabytes per second download and 3 megabytes per second upload.
While 93.7 percent of households in urban and suburban areas have access to at least 25 megabytes per second broadband, just 75.3 percent of rural households have access to that speed. The gap is narrower for slower broadband with 98.2 percent of urban and suburban areas having access to 10 megabytes per second and 91.3 percent of rural areas having access to that speed.
As far as those paying for broadband service, as of 2016, 35.1 percent of Michigan households did not subscribe to broadband service. Lower-income households were far more likely not to have an Internet connection. Some 37.3 percent of households earning less than $35,000 a year do not have any type of home internet access, the report said. Meanwhile, among those households with incomes of $75,000 or more, only 5.2 percent had no internet access.
This story was published by Gongwer News Service.