Governor Lamont Announces Federal Approval of Connecticut Plan to Deploy $42.9 Million in ARPA Funds to Increase Broadband Internet Access in Underserved Areas
The Lamont administration plans to use funds to launch a program that will expand or improve broadband for 10,000 homes and businesses.
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced his administration’s plan to use $42.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds to launch a program that will build and deploy the infrastructure needed to expand broadband Internet service in Connecticut’s underserved areas has received approval from the United States Department of the Treasury.
The Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program will be a competitive grant program designed to support the goal of universal statewide access to affordable, resilient, and reliable Internet service. Specifically, it will connect homes and businesses to broadband Internet in areas that have been identified as lacking the necessary infrastructure to support this service, with a focus on those in low-income communities. It will be managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Office of Energy and Technology Policy and is anticipated to launch in early 2023.
The initial goal of the program is to expand or improve broadband access for 10,000 homes and businesses statewide. This includes access to symmetric download and upload speeds of at least 100 megabytes per second (Mbps), while moving toward a state goal of universal access to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) download speeds and 100 Mbps upload speeds. , and symmetric speeds of 1 Gbps for community anchor institutions. In addition to increasing broadband access, the program will focus on improving the resiliency and reliability of these networks by prioritizing more robust infrastructure deployment methods and topologies. This includes more resilient methods such as building underground infrastructure and designing failover traffic paths that route traffic to a secondary resource when the primary resource becomes weak.
Each of the internet service providers funded by the program will be required to participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides low-income households with $30 per month off their internet bills.
Governor Lamont said, “Expanding high-speed Internet access is a top priority for our administration because in a modern world, a lack of broadband access means people can’t connect to educational resources, job opportunities, and health care services. . Until we address our unattended broadband challenges in our urban, suburban and rural areas, we will not have equitable access for all or achieve the economic recovery we need. I’m glad the federal government through the Biden administration has prioritized broadband access as an urgent need, and I appreciate their partnership with Connecticut so we can build the necessary infrastructure to get everyone online.”
In a joint statement, members of the Connecticut congressional delegation said“Broadband is an important need of the 21St. century, however, more than 20% of Connecticut residents still lack affordable, high-quality Internet. This significant federal funding will help close the gap by providing reliable, affordable Internet service to the people in our state who need it most.”
DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said, “Broadband connectivity has become an essential part of life in today’s digital world, with important aspects of everyday life increasingly coming online. Removing barriers to connectivity and making our state one of the most connected in the country has long been a priority of Governor Lamont, which is why he worked with the legislature to appropriate a significant amount of Bailout Act funding American to expand broadband access. DEEP’s Office of Telecommunications and Broadband has already been hard at work, focused on developing equitable policies and programs to bring the economic and social benefits of broadband access to Connecticut residents and businesses. I thank the Biden administration for recognizing Connecticut’s commitment to connectivity by awarding this important funding to our state.”
The grant comes from the US Treasury Department as part of the American Bailout Act. Capital Projects Fund. This fund is intended to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
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