Thursday, December 06, 2001
Map Shows Existence of Digital Divide in State’s Economically Challenged Urban and Rural Communities
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) released maps of Michigan’s high-speed telecommunications infrastructure today that demonstrate the existence of a digital divide in the rural and economically challenged urban communities throughout the state.
“These maps show what we have been saying all along, that Michigan has a growing digital divide when it comes to high-speed access throughout the state,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“Residents in many urban and rural communities alike are unable to receive high-speed access and the tremendous amount of opportunities that come along with it.”
The mapping project, performed by the Technology Policy Group (TPG), used some 40 federal databases to plot actual physical infrastructure throughout the state.Here are a number of the TPG findings:
· High-speed backbone support infrastructure is unavailable outside of most metropolitan areas of the state.
· Michigan’s cable modem access is at the national average.
· Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) availability is limited and below national averages.
· There is virtually no DSL connectivity in the northern section of the state and the entire Upper Peninsula.
TPG is conducting additional analysis.However, overall the TPG noted that Michigan’s DSL build out is slow.
“Michigan’s telecommunications infrastructure has a long way to go before high-speed access is readily available throughout the state,” said J. Pari Sabety, director of the Technology Policy Group, Ohio Supercomputer Center.
TPG was contracted by the MEDC to perform this mapping project due to the group’s experience in mapping high-speed telecommunications infrastructure, including the state of Ohio.
“Basically, these results show that when it comes to cable modem access we are average, while DSL availability is below average,” Rothwell said.“Michigan shouldn’t settle for a C minus grade.Our state is a leader in economic development and must be a leader in high-speed availability to continue that high standing.”
The MEDC, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.