Motorola‘s Broadband Solutions Provide Rural Michigan Communities with Reliable High-speed Internet Access
Motorola, Inc., today announced that Air Advantage, a wireless Internet service provider headquartered in Frankenmuth, Mich., is leveraging its broad portfolio of wireless broadband solutions to deliver reliable and secure connectivity to rural and underserved communities across eastern Michigan. Approved for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utility Service (RUS) rural development funding, Motorola’s point-to-point wireless Ethernet bridges and point-to-multipoint wireless access network solutions are helping bridge the digital divide and stimulate economic development for thousands of rural businesses and residents.
Air Advantage has worked with Motorola since 2003, when we first began providing broadband services to rural communities of Michigan, said Scott Zimmer, president and founder, Air Advantage. We started with only five towers located atop commercial grain silos but our network has quickly grown and, today, we operate more than 50 towers that provide high-speed Internet access to more than 4,500 subscribers in the area.
Air Advantage is an example of how private businesses can successfully partner with the USDA, RUS Programs to help connect the unconnected with innovative wireless broadband technologies. Over the past six years, the company has secured three Community Connect Broadband Grants and used the USDA’s Broadband Loan Program to expand the wireless network to reach more unserved and underserved Michigan communities. The partnership has not only resulted in businesses and residents being able to have broadband connectivity but has also led to the creation of computer labs in local community centers that provide the residents of Port Hope, Mich. and Unionville, Mich. with free high-speed Internet access. In addition, the connectivity project has provided jobs for Air America service technicians and other network operators in the area.
Air Advantage also helped the Harbor Beach Community Schools apply and receive a USDA Distance Learning/Telemedicine Grant, which led to the deployment of distance learning technologies throughout seven partner rural school systems in Huron County, Mich. The result is a robust network that provides local high-school students with the opportunity to access shared high school- and college-level courses as well as programs to help prepare them for college entrance exams. In addition, the Air Advantage network has linked several rural hospitals to enable data and record sharing as well as to enable the Saginaw Valley State University establish distance learning professional development courses at these healthcare facilities.
The latest Community Connect Broadband Grant, approved by the USDA in 2008, is currently being used to provide wireless broadband access to a small community of Applegate, Mich., which otherwise would most likely be left behind from having high-speed connectivity. As part of this latest project, Air Advantage is delivering reliable wireless access solutions to the community’s business and households with Motorola’s point-to-multipoint 900 MHz access network solutions. The company is also working with local officials to expand the village hall with a brand new center for community and private events, which will also host a computer lab with free Internet access.
Motorola is a trusted partner to wireless internet service providers like Air Advantage in all corners of the world, enabling them to cost-effectively extend wireless broadband coverage to hard-to-reach, underserved communities, said Rick Neal, vice president, strategy and business development, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions. Our portfolio of RUS-approved wireless broadband solutions provides cost-effective, reliable connectivity in some of the world’s harshest environments, powering more than 10,000 networks that deliver reliable service and level the playing field for businesses and residents in these areas. Motorola is ready to help our partners in North America to take advantage of the latest opportunities made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.