Midwest Energy and Communications (MEC) received a State ROBIN grant to be the fiber broadband internet provider for our area. This will cover both the Village and the Township as well as surrounding communities. (This is a totally different provider than the Mercury Wireless yard signs around town)
Recently there was a news story on WSJM regarding this project.
To register for with MEC for service and construction updates, use this registration link.
This registration step is to provide your physical address and email for updates. There is no payment at this time. If anyone has any problems with this process, please email email@example.com for further assistance.
Registering will put you on MEC's distribution list so that you receive updates and communication directly from them. When you register, you will see that it indicates "Zone Map Galien (Robin) 2024".
Construction information can also be found on MEC's website -
Map of construction (takes a minute to load color map)
Construction updates (check back periodically as construction progresses)
FAQ's on the construction process
MEC anticipates construction to start in Bertrand in Q2 2024 and then moving into Galien in Q3 2024. Please be patient with MEC, this is a huge project with many moving parts, weather dependencies, etc. Remember, every day that goes by you are one day closer!
Also on MEC's website is information regarding plans and pricing, Note that for our particular grant, there is a $100 flat connection fee.
Last, this is optional. If you are happy with your current provider, you can chose to stay with your current provider.
Here is the initial press release from MEC regarding this project:
OVER 5,000 UNSERVED RESIDENTS IN RURAL BERRIEN COUNTY COULD GET HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND THANKS TO STATE OF MICHIGAN
St. Joseph, Michigan, June 20 – The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office announced its initial recommendations for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) program today. This program will potentially bring reliable, high-speed broadband service to 10,081 residents and businesses in Berrien County, 5,256 of which currently lack access to broadband.
Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) submitted a $56.4 million application for ROBIN funding to expand internet service in Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. The application included a $15.5 million investment from MEC and requested $27.6 million from the State. Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties, along with townships and villages in the proposed counties committed over $13 million.
If fully funded by the State, Berrien County will commit nearly $4.5 million, and 17 townships will commit over $2.7 million. MEC will begin construction in the fall of 2023 and will finish by the end of 2026. Customers will get activated once construction in their specific area is complete, and those exact plans have yet to be determined.
The ROBIN program now enters a 45-day objection period, and final awards will be determined after objections have been validated. The State expects to make final award announcements in August 2023 and stresses that not all applications will receive full funding due to the objections.
“We’ve been working on improving connectivity in Berrien County for a number of years and are pleased with the State of Michigan’s announcement,” said Commissioner Teri Freehling, who is a member of the Berrien County Broadband Internet Task Force, or BCBIT. “High-speed broadband access is more than just a utility – it’s a life-changing essential we need to be successful in our daily activities.
“We’re delighted to partner with MEC to bring this critical infrastructure to residents.”
MEC is a rural electric cooperative, propane supplier, and internet service provider headquartered in Cassopolis, Michigan serving customers in Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio.
Berrien County Board Chair, Commissioner Mac Elliot praised County leadership for its commitment to connectivity, highlighting the efforts of Freehling, Commissioner Jim Curran and Commissioner Rayonte Bell, who also serve on BCBIT, as well as former commission and BCBIT member Ezra Scott as being instrumental in the project’s success.
Once completed, the project will ensure more than 80% of Berrien County residents have broadband connectivity. The following townships will participate in the grant: Baroda, Berrien, Bertrand, Buchanan, Chikaming, Galien, Hagar, Lake, Lincoln, New Buffalo, Pipestone, Sodus, Three Oaks and Weesaw. The villages of Eau Claire and Galien will also participate.
“We celebrate this announcement, which is a huge milestone,” Freehling said. “Our objectivity is to ensure end-to-end connectivity for all residents. While this grant makes that objective easier, we still have work to do – and we will continue to focus on this critical work.”