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Governor Whitmer signs directive to promote better internet access

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive on Monday that instructs state departments and agencies to develop plans to use federal recovery funds to improve broadband internet service in Michigan.

The directive instructs state departments and agencies to create plans to reduce the cost and to expand access to high-speed internet to underserved areas of the state. It says the benefits would include business development, online learning, telemedicine, and simply connecting with family and friends. In June, the governor created a Michigan High-Speed Internet office, stating Michigan could be missing out on two and a half billion dollars in economic activity due to a digital divide.

The directive only tells executive branch agencies to come up with plans. Using federal dollars to put those plans into action will require an agreement between the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.