The second of six stops in the URC Infrastructure Innovation Tour, the Sanilac roundtable discussion covered rural access to broadband and the complex issues communities face in securing widespread connectivity.Launched after publishing Foundation for the Future: URC Contributions to Infrastructure Improvement, this tour is built to continue conversations about infrastructure needs, promote innovation and foster future collaboration.

Tour Coverage & Content

Group seeks to expand high speed internet | Sanilac County News, 11.28.18

Carl Osentoski, executive director of the Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corporation, led us into our conversation with an overview of the work that has long been underway in the area to improve access to broadband. Carl discussed the critical importance of broadband access for economic development and sustainability in rural areas, including agricultural activity and other local business operations.

Rob McCurdy shared what MSU is doing to improve connectivity for Michiganders. Through programs like NextGen Media Innovation Lab, which focuses on early childhood development; telemedicine, connecting physicians with patients in rural areas; and equity in education access, understanding that education doesn’t stop at the classroom door, MSU is identifying key issue areas in the realm of connectivity. Review the PPT presentation.

Eric Frederick, executive director of Connect Michigan, worked with Governor Snyder on pinpointing the state’s broadband needs and how to address them. Eric shared the nature of access as a spectrum—going beyond mere infrastructure to look at access, adoption and use. Eric also addressed why connectivity matters, pointing to the $2.5 billion economic advantage if access were expanded to all Michigan residents. Review the PPT presentation.

Dr. Abusayeed Saifullah discussed research on the SNOW Project: a highly-scalable, low power, long-range wireless sensor network over the TV white spaces.

About Our Speakers

Mr. Carl Osentoski, Sanilac-Huron Economic Development Executive Director 
Executive Director since 1988, Osentoski has participated in the production of several community development plans, recreation plan updates, CDBG Grants and the development of downtown development organizations.  He is a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association and serves as chairperson of the Thumb Area Partnership.

Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine, URC Executive Director
Executive Director Affolter-Caine has been with the URC since August 2012. She was previously director of talent enhancement for Ann Arbor SPARK and held positions at the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Rob McCurdy, MSU Chief Information Officer 
Rob McCurdy is MSU Chief Information Officer, responsible for leading technology strategy and managing overall IT operations and services. His initiatives include improving service delivery through embracing effective and efficient use of technology; creating business models for delivering new services; and leading strategic initiatives to transform the technology unit to be flexible, adaptable and responsive to the needs of the MSU community.

Mr. Eric Frederik, Connect Michigan Executive Director
Eric Frederick serves as Vice President, Community Affairs for Connected Nation. Eric is responsible for managing the development and implementation of the Connected Community Engagement Program across the United States. Frederik also provides primary management, oversight, and support for Connect Michigan’s state strategy.


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