michigan lighthouse

Michigan released award recommendations for broadband deployment grants totaling $238 million today. Among the tentative winners are Charter, Frontier, Brightspeed, AT&T and seven others, including local companies.

The biggest winner, measured by number of awards, was Charter, which is on tap to receive funding for eight projects. The awards list released by the state did not show the amount of funding associated with each award because the awards are tentative until a challenge process is completed, a representative for the state’s High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) explained in an email to Telecompetitor.

The next biggest winners, measured by number of awards, were Point Broadband Fiber Holdings, which is on tap for four projects, and Great Lakes Energy, which is on tap for three projects.

The remaining eight awardees are each slated to receive funding for a single project. In addition to AT&T, Frontier and Brightspeed, other single-project awardees include 123Net, Cherry Capital Connection, LakeNet LLC, Midwest Energy & Communications, and Surf Internet.

Midwest Energy had the largest single award, measured by number of locations — 17,419.

The awardees plan to contribute additional funding totaling $311 million to the projects, which are expected to make broadband available to approximately 100,000 unserved locations in the state.

All projects expect to support symmetrical service at speeds between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps, including two projects that expect symmetrical speeds of 5 Gbps or more — a 5 Gbps project from Frontier and a 6 Gbps project from 123Net.

The awards were announced through the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program, which received funding through the Treasury Capital Projects Fund.

Competition for the ROBIN Michigan broadband awards was intense. The state received applications from 40 companies requesting funding for 154 projects. The funding tentatively approved is for 24 projects from the 12 companies.

As the MIHI office, which is administering the program, explained, project proposals were scored on categories including “experience, financial wherewithal, long-term viability of the project; readiness to build, operate and maintain the project; economic impact; locations passed; and digital equity and inclusion.”

The MIHI notice cautions that “not all grant recommendations are expected to be funded or receive their full funding pending the outcome of a 45-day comment and objection window.”

There is also a possibility that awards will have to be reduced somewhat because the full amount requested by the awardees exceeds the $238 million available.

A full list of the tentative awards can be found at this link.

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