Berrien County Broadband Internet Task Force

Berrien County Broadband Task Force Logo

In April of 2019, the Berrien County Board of Commissioners passed resolution F1904199 which identified reliable, high speed, affordable access to the internet and e-connectivity as being imperative for Berrien County residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and visitors alike, and acknowledged that access to the internet and e-connectivity is a crucial part of the Berrien County mission.  As the Board of Commissioners set the operational objectives for 2019-2020, they included a focus on support and improvement of county infrastructure - to include but not be limited to staff and financial resources to be utilized in the pursuit of all options available to bring high speed internet to the unserved and underserved areas of Berrien County. Three commissioners were appointed to a sub-committee - Teri Freehling, Jim Curran, and Ezra Scott and in their work with other agencies aiming for the same goal, the Berrien County Broadband Internet Task Force was formed. 

The Board contracted with Merit Network Inc., resolution F2012421, to collect the data needed to move forward with that objective and pushed out a county-wide survey to seek the input needed from as many residents as possible. In February of 2021, that information was sent out in the form of a press release and the survey was made available on the Berrien County website as well as other means of communication.  Following the collection of that data, and final report from this survey further mapping and services were needed related to that data. The Board of Commissioners authorized a contract with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission for the purposes of taking the broadband data that was collected and converting it to GIS Storymap presentation materials.  

The work of the Task Force continues.  

As funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) flow into Berrien County, one of the approved uses of the funds is to invest in broadband in underserved and unserved areas.  The federal government guidelines allow Berrien County to sub-grant a portion of their allocated ARPA funds to local entities for the purpose of deploying broadband.  in January of 2022, the Berrien County Board of Commissioners approved Resolution B2201191 beginning the application process for those funds. The application inviting local entities to request those sub-granted ARPA funds is now closed.

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