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Southwest Michigan Broadband Initiative

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Southwest Michigan Broadband Initiative

SWMPC is partnering with Connect Michigan to evaluate our region’s broadband strategy. Community leaders throughout Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties will be assisting SWMPC and Connect Michigan by filling out assessments that address local high-speed internet accessibility, adoption, uses, and educational opportunities in a variety of contexts.


While much of the southwest Michigan region currently has some form of high-speed internet available, there are still significant barriers preventing widespread adoption and the utilization of broadband to its fullest potential. Identifying these barriers and developing policies and initiatives to remove them will help make southwest Michigan a more connected and more prosperous place.


Connect Michigan’s Role

Connect Michigan is working to help communities identify their technology needs and opportunities. Bolstered by benchmarking data that has been gathered through Connect Michigan’s mapping and market research, the Connected Community Engagement program is drilling down to the regional and local level to facilitate community technology planning. Upon completion of the community assessment phase, Connect Michigan will offer policy and program recommendations for achieving southwest Michigan’s goals as they relate to broadband usage. For details on Connect Michigan’s Connected Community Engagement Program, download the PDF here .


For questions or comments regarding the Southwest Michigan Broadband Initiative, contact Kris Martin, Associate Planner at martink@swmpc.org or (269) 925-1137, ext. 1521.


Technology Action Plan Prepared by Connect Michigan and the Broadband Committee.


  1. Berrien County
  2. Cass County 
  3. Van Buren County


Below is assessment from Connect Michigan. Its data for the scorecard and recommendations was collected  from our Broadband Assessment Survey taken in the summer and fall of 2013.


  1. Berrien County Community Technology Scorecard and Recommendations
  2. Cass County Community Technology Scorecard and Recommendations
  3. Van Buren Community Technology Scorecard and Recommendations 


Please review the scorecards above and submit your comments and recommendations in the form below: 

-Connected Community Report Input (Click here to add additional an asset or action to consider)


We held a meeting on May 22, 2014 to view the presentations click the links below:

-Meeting Outline

-Southwest Michigan Broadband Initiative Presentation  

-Findings and Recommendations Community Broadband Assessment Presentation

-Connected Community Report Input (Click here to add additional an asset or action to consider)


Information for Community Leaders:

2013 NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit

Broadband Inventory Maps:


Press Releases

Fiber Ring around Van Buren County in the Works – 08/26/2010

Report Places Emphasis on Need for Broadband in Rural America – 06/22/2011

Southwest Michigan Region Launches Key Broadband Initiative – 08/16/2012

USDA Invests $22.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband for Rural Michigan - 5/13/2020

Berrien, Cass County Residents To Benefit From Broadband Grant - 5/27/2020


Library Services and Technology Act - The Library of Michigan distributes federal funds received under the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, to support statewide initiatives and competitive grant programs.


Supporters of the Southwest Michigan Broadband Initiative:

Cornerstone Alliance



To “Connected Community” Broadband Champions and other key broadband contacts in southern Michigan:


In 2016, Charter Communications announced the roll-out of their low-cost broadband service (called Spectrum Internet Assist) for eligible low-income households and seniors in Michigan. This announcement will be good news for those who qualify and are currently in Charter’s service area but could not afford to subscribe in the past.  More information and details are contained in the attached notice and at www.SpectrumInternetAssist.com.


Charter’s announcement, coupled with Comcast’s existing low-cost offering, Internet Essentials (https://internetessentials.com), help reduce the cost barrier that has prevented many Michigan residents and families from adopting broadband and all of the advantages and benefits it entails.  Please help share this information across your communities and school districts as appropriate. 

This page last updated on 8/5/2020.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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