The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) has announced its preliminary recommendations for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program. The program will allocate $238 million in federal funding, sourced from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, to facilitate the expansion of high-speed internet to approximately 100,000 unserved locations across Michigan.

The grants will make internet access more affordable for numerous people in Michigan, granting them greater access to essential resources such as remote education, telemedicine, online networking, and job search tools.

Through a competitive application process, project proposals were submitted and evaluated by MIHI’s ROBIN Steering Committee. Comprising representatives from various state government sectors, the committee’s responsibilities include guiding administrative procedures, scoring applications, addressing challenges, and providing recommendations concerning programmatic requirements.

Out of 154 applications submitted by 40 different applicants, the initial grant recommendations include 24 projects from 11 applicants. These projects aim to connect approximately 106,000 residences, businesses, and institutions throughout the state. Furthermore, the 11 applicants have pledged over $311 million in matching funds to support these 24 projects, totaling $578 million.

All project proposals underwent a comprehensive assessment, considering experience, financial capabilities, long-term viability, readiness for construction and operation, economic impact, coverage areas, and digital equity and inclusion. The initial grant recommendations were based on the final application scores following review by the ROBIN Steering Committee.

Not all initial grant recommendations are guaranteed funding or full funding. The outcome will depend on the 45-day comment and objection period, during which individuals can submit comments or objections regarding one or more recommendations. This window for comments and objections will remain open from June 16 to July 31, 2023.

To access a list of initial grant recipients, scoring criteria, and proposed grant location maps, visit the MIHI website.