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Gov. Whitmer announces Michigan High-Speed Internet Office


  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced the state will establish the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. It's meant to make high-speed internet more affordable and accessible.


The office was announced as an Executive Directive to help expand high-speed internet access for Michiganders.


Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrest said right now there are as many as 14 points of contact for high-speed internet related questions and issues within state government.

“We want to streamline and simplify how our partners can engage with state government on solving the statewide problem," Gilchrest said. "And that streamlining process is something that I know Democrats and Republicans agree on, but how we can you know, more quickly and more, I think, efficiently and effectively address these issues.”

Gilchrest said the goal is for the High-Speed Internet Office to be the single point of contact for partners.

He said internet access means different things in different communities.


“It means, first of all, making sure that the internet is actually available and built out to people in every part of our state across our rural communities, our suburban communities and urban communities," Gilchrest said. "It means to ensure that people can afford internet access, which means we need to innovate on business models and delivery models for them.”


Gilchrest said they've started the development process for the office and have begun the search for a chief connectivity officer 


“Certainly it's a person who's gonna have to manage a lot of relationships with stakeholders across government, across industry and across again, nonprofits, philanthropy, municipal governments, service providers in the private sector," Gilchrest said. "Someone who also can can really encourage and inspire new kinds of partnerships that don't currently exist.”

Gilchrest said the candidate must be someone who is passionate about what connectivity can deliver to communities. 

The office will be housed inside the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.