(WXYZ) — How is your internet service? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said almost half a million people in Michigan do not have access to high-speed internet.
Some believe that the number, which is provided by internet providers, might actually be low.
That’s why Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist is asking you to double-check the FCC map showing who has slow service. That will allow the state to get as much funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to improve your internet.
Related: How you can check your internet speed & submit a challenge:
Detroit’s Hope Village is a neighborhood that the FCC map said has high-speed internet, but as people showed us, that’s not the case.
Ask people in Hope Village about their internet and they’ll tell you it’s slow. And, they can prove it.
“Roughly about one-third of what I am paying for. As you can see your internet connection is very slow,” Jeffrey Jones said.
Jones ran an internet speed test three times on his computer. Each time, it came back below the speed he paid for, and below the FCC threshold of high-speed internet, which is at least 25 Mbps for download and 3 Mbps for upload.
“Poorer communities get second-class service. First-class bills, but second-class service,” he said.
Jones said the impact of slow and unreliable internet is real. During the pandemic shutdowns, his neighbor had to take her children to the McDonald’s parking lot for school. He also said at times, his doctor can’t track his health.
“My doctor fussed at me – you aren’t using your CPAP machine,” he said. “Yes I am, it’s just the machine can’t communicate with you to let you know if I am breathing properly or not.”
Art Thompson is the chief information officer for the City of Detroit. He said the mayor’s office is requesting bids for a project to install community-owned fiber lines to Hope Village to fix what private companies have not. It’s just a start.
“About 1/3 of the city is underserved. If you look at no connectivity it is maybe 5%,” Thompson said.
“Half a million people don’t have internet in Michigan. And that is what we know about. That is what we know about. And we might learn more from this mapping service,” Gilchrist said.
He said rural and poor communities are especially hard-hit. This is an issue he is passionate about. In college, he did research on how some communities simply did not have internet service.
“The fact that we still have gaps in Michigan and anywhere in this country 21 years later, I think that is horrible, it is a failure. This can be the generation that connects our people,” he said.
The lieutenant governor we need more funding to do more projects like the one Detroit is planning for Hope Village.
Right now, everyone in Michigan can help make that happen.
Between now and Jan. 13, run an internet speed test. Then compare what you are getting with what the online FCC map says you are getting. It has information address by address.
If the FCC thinks you have high-speed internet and it’s slow, upload evidence like a screenshot. Your information could be used to justify investment in internet infrastructure in your neighborhood.
“Michigan can be the state that gets people online and connects them to the economic opportunities that come from it. The health benefits. The education benefits,” he said.
Here’s how you can check your internet and submit a challenge.
- Go to broadbandmap.fcc.gov
- Type in an address and see if the reported coverage is accurate
- Run a test of your internet speed at either https://www.speedtest.net/ or https://fast.com/
- If your internet doesn’t match up, submit a challenge by clicking “Location Challenge” if the location is missing or “availability challenge” if the internet service information is incorrect