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Merit Network To Dedicate Fiber Optics In UP's Gogebic, Menominee Counties

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) -- Merit Network Inc., the provider of high speed Internet networking to Michgian's education, government and nonprofit sectors, will dedicate new fiber optic connectivity in Gogebic County and Menominee County this week.

The Gogebic event will take place Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 11:30 a.m. Central time at the Davis G. Lindquist Student Center of Gogebic Community College, E-4946 Jackson Road in Ironwood.

The Menominee event will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 11:30 a.m. Central time at Spies Public Library, 940 First St. in Menominee.

Both events are open to the public. Anyone may attend in person. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Scheduled to attend the Gogebic event are James Lorenson, president of Gogebic Community College; Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development at Merit; Tom Ruppe, network support analyst at Gogebic Community Mental Health; Juliane Giackino, Gogebic County administrator; Elaine Erickson, Ironwood Carnegie Library director; Amy Berglund, U. P. Regional Representative, Office of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin; and Jeremy Hosking, U. P. Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow

In the event, Merit will commemorate the completion of significant segments of its REACH-3MC Broadband Stimulus Project. Gogebic Community College will host key stakeholders who will reflect on this momentous occasion. Merit Network will announce a significant milestone for the project and answer questions on how the community can take advantage of this high-speed network.

Scheduled to attend the Menominee event are Cheryl Hoffman, director of the Spies Public Library; Downing; Kenny Marks, Menominee County Sheriff; Michael Cattani, superintendent of the Menominee Area Public Schools; Michigan State Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan); Hosking; and Berglund.

In 2010, Merit Network, Inc. received two federal stimulus grants totaling $102 million to build REACH-3MC. The Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Health care - Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) is creating 2,287 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure in rural and underserved areas throughout Michigan and provide backhaul to key interconnection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Through REACH-3MC, Merit enables state and local government, colleges, schools, libraries, health care centers and other community anchor institutions to connect to Merit's private, high-performance network, enabling them to lower costs, consolidate services and provide more to Michigan's citizens. Merit engages project participants from the private sector to improve service to homes and businesses along the REACH-3MC route. Merit's existing fiber infrastructure combined with the new REACH-3MC network infrastructure creates a robust footprint in the state, providing Michigan with a strategic asset to leverage in the future.

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