Contact the Connecticut Broadband Coordinator:
CT Broadband Policy & Programs Coordinator
Office of Consumer Counsel
10 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
Develop Gigabit Internet Networks in Their Communities
The current average Internet speed in Connecticut of 9 megabits per second (Mbps) is too slow for many current needs and applications, and hinders progress, growth, and innovation in numerous areas, including business, education, and e-government.
Other parts of the country (and other parts of the world) are seeing the development of ultra-high-speed gigabit “Gig” networks of 1000 Mbps with prices of $70/month or lower, but there are none in Connecticut and only two municipal Gig networks being developed in New England.
Industry and government have successfully created public-private partnerships to develop Gig networks in other states.
The RFQ has three goals:
* Provide free or heavily discounted 10-100 MB (minimum) Internet service over a wired or wireless network to underserved and disadvantaged residential areas across the territories and diverse demographics.
* Deliver gigabit Internet service as prices comparable to other gigabit fiber communities across the nation.
* Prospective companies must submit their applications by January 15, 2015. This RFQ presents an opportunity for Connecticut to remain at the forefront of broadband technology.
Relevant documents, including the RFQ, Addendums of the three cities, a press release, and recent news articles, can also be viewed at the Office of Consumer Counsel’s website at www.ct.gov/occ .
In December 2011, the State Broadband Policy Coordinator produced a comprehensive study (the CT Guidelines) of the status of and proposed enhancements to expand high speed Internet services in Connecticut . Funded by a $4 million grant to the state by the US Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), together with a statewide broadband data and MIS mapping project from 2011-14, the GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF BROADBAND STRATEGIC PLAN - RELEASE DATE 123011, presents recommendations for expanding access to and adoption of broadband services based on the findings of a blue ribbon committee, focus groups, surveys, and extensive research:
Given that broadband technology is an enabler that significantly advances the ability of Connecticut’s residents, organizations and businesses to communicate, learn, work, create, consume, access services, and recreate, it merits serious state attention. The recommendation regarding creating formal communication among existing policymakers places greater emphasis on broadband policy with the development of the broadband cabinet. This will help increase communication and coordination between state agency leaders that can impact broadband policy with other state policymakers. The establishment of a broadband goal provides direction for policymakers and helps establish Connecticut as a broadband leader.
In order to be a global leader in broadband capacity, Connecticut must ensure that the state maintains a competitive environment for broadband providers and remains attractive for continued investment. Streamlining the pole attachment and cell-tower siting processes will ease the burden for providers in the market. Furthermore, since open access to the CEN is required as part of receiving ARRA funding, explore opportunities for municipalities to connect to the network and for providers to offer service to the network.
Finally, although Connecticut does have some of the highest broadband access rates in the nation, there are segments of the population that lack broadband connections due to factors such as lack of interest or understanding of the need for an Internet connection as well as the cost of technology and broadband service. Therefore, the proposed recommendations hope to increase access rates by leveraging existing resources by working within the existing infrastructure of nonprofits and organizations that assist low-income residents.