(CBS DETROIT)– Accompanied by a Detroit High School Senior at the Boys and Girls Club on Detroit’s Westside Wednesday, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2021-02. The order establishes the Michigan High-Speed Internet (MIHI) Office.

“Internet is essential, period. And I now there’s a lot of people that want to define infrastructure in a lot of different ways, but this is critical infrastructure,” said Whitmer.

READ MORE: 23-Year-Old Michigan Man Arraigned In Fatal Shooting Of 3 Relatives

Infrastructure Governor Whitmer says many Michiganders do not have access to, whether it’s due to affordability, or living in rural areas.

“1 in 4 Michigan families do not have a connection that meets their needs and that’s just not acceptable, luckily we’ve got the will and we have a way to close the digital divide and expand high-speed internet to millions of Michiganders,” Whitmer said.

The MIHI office will be responsible for developing high-speed internet and necessary infrastructure to every home and business in the state. The office is also responsible for coordinating funding, something that’s needed in some disadvantage areas.

READ MORE: Hispanic Heritage Month: Mexicantown Through Artist Eyes

Whitmer says the need for high-speed internet has always been critical, especially during the pandemic. Students like the Detroit Senior says bad internet service can have a negative affect on schoolwork.

“Some days I did miss class because my internet was moving too slow and by the time I was able to reboot it class was over,” said this high school senior.

According to a press release from Whitmer’s office.

Gaps in high-speed internet availability, affordability, adoption, and use  disproportionately impact communities of color, those in rural areas, and low-income households. Evidence demonstrates that increasing opportunities to get connected have a range of benefits, including:

 

Education

High-speed internet connections help students earn higher grades and build the digital skills they will need to succeed in higher education and the workforce.  Students who miss out on digital skills are less likely to be interested in careers related to science, technology, engineering, and math. Regardless of socioeconomic status, students without a high-speed connection at home are less likely to attend college or university.

 

Health Outcomes Telemedicine has long been recognized as a way to increase access to care in areas where reaching a provider’s office in-person can be challenging or to make it possible to consult with a specialist without having to travel to a major medical center.  In addition, there is evidence that telemedicine reduces hospitalizations of nursing home patients and reduces health care costs.

 

Small Businesses

Small businesses that have websites have higher annual revenues and are more likely to have recently hired one or more employees than similar businesses that aren’t online. Those that use social media weekly are three times more likely to have hired recently than those that don’t.

 

Seniors

Increased access to the internet can help address issues of isolation among older adults. Studies have shown that isolation is associated with worse health outcomes and even premature death among adults age 50 and over.

 

Civic Engagement Broadband is essential for the modern electorate to have access to educational materials about candidates and issues on ballots, as well as information on voter registration and precinct locations.

 

Climate Change Advanced grid technologies such as sensors, advanced metering infrastructure, grid monitoring and control systems, and remote reconfiguration and redundancy systems will be used to detect and solve problems remotely.

 

Rural Development Gaining high-speed internet connections can help support economic development in virtually all sectors of rural economies, ranging from farming to manufacturing to tourism and recreation.  Rural communities that lack connectivity struggle to recruit businesses and retain population.

© 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

MORE NEWS: United Airlines Facing Record $1.9 Million Fine For Extended Delays