DEEP Releases Request For Information For Broadband Infrastructure Grant Programs
DEEP Seeking Input From Providers, Municipalities, and Members of the Public; Process is An Important Step Toward Implementing Gov. Lamont’s Vision For Universal and Equitable Broadband Access in Connecticut
(HARTFORD) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released today a Request for Information (RFI) to gather important market information and input from providers, municipalities, community groups, and members of the public, ahead of the anticipated broadband infrastructure deployment programs. This marks a critical step toward implementing Governor Lamont’s vision for universal and equitable broadband access in the state, and interested stakeholders are encouraged to read the RFI (linked below) and provide their input.
The state will receive over $140 million for broadband infrastructure projects in Connecticut to support the growing shift toward long-term remote work, distance learning, and online health services.
“2021 was a landmark year for broadband legislation, providing what is likely the largest investment of federal funds for decades to come, said Governor Ned Lamont. “The transition toward an increasingly digital future must include all residents and my administration is focused on policies and programs to leverage this funding for universal broadband access. This information gathering process will help DEEP in its administration of these important programs, making sure that they are equitable and promote effective competition to provide customers with an array of service options, as we work toward our goal of universal access to one gigabit per second download speeds and 100 megabits per second upload speeds, or ‘one gig down and 100 up.’”
“Over the past several years, and uniquely so during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become clear that broadband connectivity is essential to living in today’s digital world,”DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “More and more, people are conducting important aspects of their daily lives online, such as working, learning, and managing health. For many in our state, especially those in low-income and underserved areas, barriers to connectivity remain. Removing such barriers has been a priority of Gov. Lamont’s, which is why he worked with the legislature to designate a significant amount of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for expanding broadband access, to better enable all residents and businesses of Connecticut to access the economic and social benefits of broadband connectivity.”
In July 2021, Governor Lamont signed Public Act 21-159, which promotes the build-out of broadband internet in unserved and underserved areas of Connecticut, particularly in urban centers and rural communities. In support of these measures, the State set aside $42.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Capital Projects Funds toinvest in low-income/multi-family curb-to-home and business broadband infrastructure buildout and underserved area broadband infrastructure grants.
An additional $100 million will become available to each state through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program which was created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to fund broadband planning, deployment, mapping, equity, and adoption activities.
The DEEP Office of Telecommunications and Broadband is focused on developing equitable policies and programs to bring the economic and social benefits of broadband access to the residents and businesses of Connecticut. This RFI will help identify potential barriers to access and adoption to ensure that everyone living and working in the state has affordable, reliable, and resilient broadband service. Important elements of the programs will include:
- Progress toward the state-wide goal of universal access to broadband at speeds of 1 Gbps/100 Mbps (1 Gbps symmetrical for community anchor institutions) to enable participation in modern social and economic life
- Investment in fiber-optic technology and last-mile infrastructure to promote resilient and reliable networks
- Development of open access infrastructure to promote competition and affordable service plan options
For more information about Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act programs that are relevant to DEEP’s programs and mission, please click here.