GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County commissioners recently awarded Virchow Krause & Co. LLP the contract to map out areas of existing and future telecom infrastructure in Kent, Barry and Ionia counties.
The work will cost $195,000 with the money coming from a $231,000 grant given to the project from the LinkMichigan Initiative, a statewide effort being funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The purpose of the project is to provide enough information to develop and improve Internet and telecom services throughout the three counties.
Virchow Krause has until next May to complete the survey, while Kent County is required to file a final report with the MEDC by June 1.
“We’re looking at networking everything that is there, and making sure it is accessible throughout the entire geographic area,” said Al Vanderberg, assistant county administrator.
Up to 180 organizations in the three counties could participate in the survey, which is a major piece of the local link project. More than $320,000 will be spent on the overall effort.
In addition to the MEDC money, $81,000 in local funds was raised as a matching grant from the counties, the Urban Cooperation Board, The Right Place Program and the Frey Foundation. Kent County is administering the funds.
“These community assistance planning grants are designed to help counties develop their own last mile solutions, encouraging communities to link or leverage their local strategies to the statewide backbone initiative,” said MEDC President and CEO Doug Rothwell.
Virchow Krause is a Midwest-based public accounting and consulting firm with offices in Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Holland, among other cities.
Public Accounting, a trade publication that released its Top 100 list late last month, ranked the firm as the 13th largest company of its type. The list pegged net revenue at Virchow Krause at $94 million, an increase of nearly 9 percent from last year. The firm has 825 employees.
The county invited 65 companies to bid on the project and 13 did so.