Broadband Connection Now Just a Click Away in Clare County - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Broadband Connection Now Just a Click Away in Clare County

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Many of us can't imagine living without broadband Internet.

But one northern Michigan community was living without it until today.

Clare County is the seventh county in Michigan to become certified under connected nation's connected community engagement program.

It will bring broadband Internet to the people that live, work, and vacation there.

Years ago, the city of Clare's government was struggling with broadband access and serving the public's needs.

That's when the journey began to get all of Clare County connected.

"Initially, it was just a challenge, because it's very expensive to run fiber, and in Clare County it's next to impossible to run fiber anywhere or cable for that matter so we knew that we had to go wirelessly," explained Steven Kingsbury, the Treasurer, Finance and Technology Director for the City of Clare.

That's when they developed a plan to allow not only those who worked in the county to be better connected, but those who live and vacation there as well.

"They did not have access before, the best that they've had is either wireless access through cell phones, through satellite services, or dial-up and all of them are expensive restrictive and not productive," said Kingsbury.

After years of hard work, people now have access to high speed Internet across the majority of Clare County.

It's even helping those you may least expect.

"This last Monday, we had a broadband quarterly meeting, and one of the county's farmers was in attendance, he is a beef farmer and all livestock auctions are done now through the Internet."

The technology has already improved things at the 911 center and jail.

"They had some unique challenges where they needed the high speed bandwidth to do backup, to operate their jail software, to be able to load maps to dispatch people to different parts of the county. They needed that reliable access," explained Ken Chinavare, the Director of Technology for Clare-Gladwin R.E.S.D.

Access that will now just be a click away for the people of Clare county.

"Our philosophy, our thought, our conviction from the very beginning is, we really don't care how people get connected, we just want them to be connected."

Both say they hope this encourages more people to move to Clare County, since teleworking is a possibility now.

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