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Charter, Frontier and seven smaller companies have been awarded a total of $203 million in grants in Michigan’s ROBIN rural broadband funding program. The winners will provide matching funds totaling $202 million for a total investment of $405 million. 

Several of the smaller companies won considerably more funding than Charter, which won five grants totaling $12.2 million, and Frontier, which won a single grant for $22.3 million.

There was strong interest in the ROBIN program, which had a budget of $231 million that came through the federal Capital Projects Fund. Network operators submitted applications requesting a total of $1.3 billion. 

In June, the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office announced tentative ROBIN awards totaling $238 million and implemented a challenge process, which yielded the final awardees announced late last week.

The state is now planning a second round of ROBIN funding.

Michigan Broadband Awardees

Two of the biggest winners announced in the Michigan broadband program late last week were electric companies. Great Lakes Energy won three grants totaling $46.6 million and Midwest Energy won $25.2 million.

Five competitive carriers also won funding.

  • Point Broadband, which operates in several states, was awarded $42.5 million for four projects but withdrew three of them, only keeping one grant for $4.9 million. The rest of the funding will be made available for the second round of ROBIN funding.
  • 123Net, a Michigan company, won a single grant for $28.4 million.
  • Surf Internet, which operates in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, won a single grant for $16.9 million.
  • Michigan company LakeNet LLC, won a single grant for $6.4 million.
  • Another Michigan company, Cherry Capital Connection, won a single grant for $2.8 million.

All the projects are slated to support speeds of at least 1 Gbps. Service will be made available to 71,000 homes, businesses and institutions.

“We know that a reliable connection is not a luxury – it’s a necessity for health care, education, employment, entertainment and so much more,” said Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, in a prepared statement announcing the ROBIN grants.

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