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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

State Offers Grants To Bring High-Speed Internet To Rural Areas

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A state grant program is trying to get internet companies interested in offering high-speed services in rural Michigan. We have more from Capital Bureau Chief Rick Pluta.

One estimate says Michigan could be missing out on two and a half billion dollars in economic activity due to the lack of broadband in rural areas.

Pam Matelski directs the grant program. She says that also affects the quality of health care and education.

She says it can be harder for kids in rural areas to do homework.

“In this day and age, you really are relying on having a high-speed internet connection.”

Matelski says there are about 368 thousand households in rural Michigan that can’t get affordable high-speed internet. She says the grants won’t get service to every part of the state.

But she says they might get more providers interested in trying.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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