Charlevoix County is being recognized as the most connected county in America. As of today, 95% of people in Charlevoix County have access to broadband internet. That has statewide groups using the county as a model for other communities to follow when it comes to providing internet access.
In the Boyne City Public Library, laptops can be seen all around. Residents come here to use the free broadband internet access. A resource that has evolved the functions of the modern day library.
"So we're in a fast food society. I mean you want instant gratification essentially and so if we said to someone to come in and you could look up the book in the reference you can make copies in the copy machine that just is going to have to basically people want it now and that's the sort of thing we can do with the high-speed Internet," Boyne City Public Library Manager Cliff Carey said.
Carey runs this library and has been one of the main advocates for countywide broadband access. He and many other local leaders have implemented access in all of the counties libraries, schools, and government buildings. Now most residents can now get service at their homes.
"We're going to be using examples from the community for communities across the nation to really show them what can be done with broadband technology when it comes to planning for residents for businesses for institutions schools and libraries to make sure they are connected to the rest of the world in a 21st-century global economy,"Connect Michigan Program Manager Eric Fredrick said.
Wednesday, the National Connected Community Engagement Program awarded Charlevoix County as the most connected community in the country. This connectivity now gives local leaders another reason to smile. In places like East Jordan, this gives them a recruiting tool to draw in new businesses.
"It's economic gardening if you will because we know that if we can maintain and grow the business that we have in our region that will also attract new business into the region so with this tool we've been able to again make our existing businesses and some of our industries more aware of the capabilities of the broadband and what Internet provides your business in the short-term but also in the long-term," East Jordan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Faculak explained.
Antrim, Chippewa, and Wexford counties are all assessing what it would take to get their communities connected.