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.  

ARPA Funding Letter to Communities 12.22.2022.  

Agendas & Minutes

To view agendas and minutes, visit the Agenda Center.

Resources 

A screenshot of FCC National Broadband Map webpage | broadbandmap.fcc.gov/home Opens in new window


 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.

THE FCC'S NEW BROADBAND MAP will DETERMINE HIGH-SPEED INTERNET FUNDING NEEDS

Although this newest map is expected to be a major improvement over previous iterations, the FCC expects there will be inaccuracies. That's where the public comes in - the FCC and the state is asking residents and businesses to visit  broadbandmap.fcc.gov to confirm the new data is correct.

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 that is expected to be released in 2023. 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 Meeting Schedule

February 2, 2023
**February 21 - Special Meeting, 1:30 PM**
March 2, 2023
April 6, 2023
May 4, 2023
June 1, 2023
July 6, 2023
August 3, 2023
September 7, 2023
October 5, 2023
November 2, 2023
December 7, 2023 


The 2023 BCBIT meetings are tentatively planned for the 1st Thursday of each month at 12:30 PM in the Otto Grau Conference Room 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]