Northern Michigan University says financial help from the state will boost its effort to extend high-speed educational broadband across the Upper Peninsula.
The university in Marquette is getting $6.5 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund and will contribute $3.2 million in matching funds. The plan is to equip 64 cities and townships over two years.
University Vice President Gavin Leach says the funding will allow faster purchases of equipment. As the university recoups its costs through subscriptions to the Educational Access Network, it will gradually repay the state.
Many rural households don't have broadband or internet speeds needed for educational use. Northern Michigan's network provides both, enabling users to take courses for professional and personal development. Leach said more than 50 courses may be offered within the next two years.