Berrien County Broadband Internet Task Force

Berrien County Broadband Task Force Logo

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January 18, 2024 - RFP 2024-008 is posted for 266 Parcels excluded from ROBIN Grant is available now.  Due 9:00 AM February 28, 2024. Full Details to bid on RFP 2024-008 Broadband Wired Infrastructure Expansion.

November 3, 2023 - BERRIEN COUNTY SECURES FEDERAL FUNDS FOR BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS. Nearly $26 million in federal funding is on its way to Berrien County from the state to help provide access to high-speed internet in unserved rural areas in the first round of Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant award. This $26 million ROBIN grant award money will be supplemented by $15.5 million from the internet provider Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) who will install the underground lines, along with $4.5 million from Berrien County and $2.9 million from local municipalities to fund the roughly $50 million project. Read the full Herald Palladium Article.

June 20, 2023 - The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) announced its initial recommendations for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) program on June 20, 2023.  Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) successfully submitted a $56.4 million application for ROBIN funding to expand internet service in Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. The application included a $15.5 million investment from MEC and requested $27.6 million from the State. Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties, along with townships and villages in the proposed counties committed over $13 million. Read the Full Berrien County-MEC Press Release.

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***ROBIN GRANT RESOURCES***

ROBIN Interactive GRANT MAP!

Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) Grant Program Web-Page

BCBIT ROBIN Grant Webpage Featuring Community Support Documents

Check Your Address for Eligibility

MEC Construction Schedule


***BCBIT RESOURCES***

DASHBOARDS and Municipal BROADBAND Maps

Check out FCC's new National Broadband Map - You can challenge the results!

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) - See If You Qualify!

View PARCEL STATUS of Proposed Fiber Service Areas!


About Berrien County Broadband Internet Task Force - BCBIT. 

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.  

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. This process revealed the funding requests to support our communities far exceeded committed and available funds for broadband expansion.  The pursuit of ROBIN funding and BEAD funding is essential to connect the unserved and underserved. 

June 20, 2022 the State of Michigan's High-Speed Internet Office, MIHI, announced its initial recommendations for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) program. Read the Full Berrien County-MEC Press Release.

November 3, 2023 - BERRIEN COUNTY SECURES FEDERAL FUNDS FOR BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS. Nearly $26 million in federal funding is on its way to Berrien County from the state to help provide access to high-speed internet in unserved rural areas in the first round of Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant award. This $26 million ROBIN grant award money will be supplemented by $15.5 million from the internet provider Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) who will install the underground lines, along with $4.5 million from Berrien County and $2.9 million from local municipalities to fund the roughly $50 million project. Read the full Herald Palladium Article.
  

SEE PARCEL STATUS OF PROPOSED FIBER SERVICE AREAS
PFSAs are contiguous geographic (service) areas containing funding eligible parcels grouped together.

Agendas & Minutes

mORE Resources 

Join Berrien County in verifying FCC broadband internet information

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released an updated National Broadband Map. This database displays location-level high-speed internet service information collected from internet service providers (ISPs) and is used to target funding and broadband improvements nationwide.

How to Check Your Address on the new FCC Broadband Map

To check, type in your address to see if what is displayed is right. If something is incorrect on the map you can submit a challenge. If the address is missing, click "Challenge Location". If the internet service information is incorrect, click "Availability Challenge".

Videos explaining how to challenge your address on the map, if incorrect:

Why is this important?

By taking the time to check the FCC map, you may help further the work of Berrien County to ensure all residents and businesses have access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet service.  Berrien County is also reviewing the new FCC data. With help from state and national partners, the Berrien County Internet Task Force, BCBIT, is comparing data from our recent rural broadband infrastructure results, Berrien County Broadband Dashboard and municipal dashboards with the FCC’s, keeping an eye out for any inconsistencies.  

The more accurate the data, the better chances we will have to compete for state broadband funding. Past inaccuracies have delayed and - in some cases - prevented many communities from qualifying for grants.  For more information about the FCC's new map visit  broadbandmap.fcc.gov/aboutContact Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette at [email protected] with any questions.


BCBIT 2023 Meetings

January 12, 2023
February 2, 2023
March 2, 2023
March 30, 2023
April 20, 2023
May 11, 2023
June 8, 2023
July 13, 2023
August 10, 2023
September 7, 2023
October 5, 2023
November 9, 2023
December 7, 2023

BCBIT 2024 Meeting Schedule

January 11, 2024
February 1, 2024
March 7, 2024
April 4, 2024
May 2, 2024
June 6, 2024
July 11, 2024
August 1, 2024
September 5, 2024
October 3, 2024
November 7, 2024
December 5, 2024

The BCBIT meetings are once a month, typically the 1st Thursday at 12:30 PM in the Kenneth Wendzel Conference Room (4th Floor, South) at the Berrien County Administration Center, 701 Main St., St. Joseph, MI. 49085. To join us via Zoom, please contact Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette at [email protected]