Merit Network, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit owned by the state's public
universities, is further expanding into the upper peninsula of Michigan
as it continues building one of the largest fiber optic networks in the
The 2,297-mile fiber-optic line will run across the state of Michigan and bring access to technology to more people than ever.
BTOP (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program) project is a
partnership between Merit, its subcontractors, and the federal
government, which has awarded $102 million to Merit to build the
network. Merit and its partners put in a 20-percent match to design and
lay the network, which will serve 52 counties in the lower and upper
"The economic development opportunity that this
infrastructure brings to the area is significant," says Elwood Downing,
vice president of member relations, communications and services at
Merit, in a statement.
Merit currently provides connectivity to universities and
school districts in the U.P. Its decision to open an office there and
appoint a member relations manager is aimed at making the UP and
Michigan an appealing place to live and work.
Merit Network owns
and operates America's longest-running regional research and education
system and provides networking services to universities, college, school
districts, libraries, state government, and health care and nonprofit
Sources: Patty Giorgio, spokesperson, Merit Network
Writer: Kim North Shine