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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Announces Federal Approval of Connecticut Education Network's $70.9 Million Broadband Infrastructure Plan

Lamont Administration Plans To Upgrade CEN’s Backbone Network Infrastructure; Expand Dedicated Internet Access for Municipalities, Libraries, and Charter Schools; Deliver Grant Funds for Community WiFi to Residents in Need

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury has approved his administration’s plan to invest a $70.9 million grant the state received from the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Fund to upgrade network and cybersecurity infrastructure in the Connecticut Education Network (CEN), connect up to 170 community anchor organizations to CEN, and expand public WiFi service.

The plan, entitled “CEN Connect,” is comprised of three parts: CEN Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI); CEN Connect Municipalities, Libraries and Charter Schools; and CEN Connect Community WiFi. The program’s website is located at

CEN Connect NGI is a direct implementation project and will provide a comprehensive update to the CEN to expand capacity to support the growth in internet use, accommodate the addition of new institutional members, and serve as the attach point for high-performance community wireless. This project will bring 100 gigabit per second network capability to every Connecticut community and serve as the platform to ensure ample internet bandwidth, capacity, and essential cyber security services are available to each community anchor institution (CAI) and open access member.

CEN Connect Municipalities, Libraries, and Charter Schools is also a direct implementation project offering 97 municipalities, 6 councils of government (COGs), 63 libraries, and 14 charter schools fiber-based, high-capacity CEN dedicated internet access (DIA) service. CEN’s DIA service is uniquely designed for CAIs and provides a host of benefits, including dedicated bandwidth with no slow-downs or data caps, exclusive access to the Internet2 national backbone, no-cost express on-ramps to cloud providers, essential cybersecurity protections for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack detection and mitigation, Children’s Internet Protection Act-compliant web filtering, end-to-end management, and a proactive 24x7 Network Operations Center.

CEN Connect Community WiFi is a competitive sub-grant program that will be administered in collaboration with the Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology (CET). Expanding on the successful 2020 launch of the community wireless components of Governor Lamont’s Everybody Learns Initiative, CEN Connect Community WiFi will offer $10 million in grant opportunities to improve internet access for Connecticut residents in underserved and typically economically disadvantaged groups in urban and rural communities. Application process details will be forthcoming as the program ramps up.

Governor Lamont said, “Investments through CEN Connect are investments in Connecticut’s ability to deliver and support workforce development, digital government, learning, innovation, and health and human services. The CEN cyber infrastructure contributes to a healthy broadband ecosystem for Connecticut and represents the ultimate shared service platform for our anchor institutions to connect, aggregate, collaborate, and improve services across the state.”

Connecticut Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Michelle Gilman said, “Federal approval of CEN Connect is a major step forward in our state’s efforts to support digital infrastructure for our valued community anchor institutions and improve connectivity for residents who have been traditionally underserved. The Department of Administrative Services, through the Commission for Educational Technology and Connecticut Education Network, is proud to support these priorities. Today’s news is sure to have a direct, positive impact on the lives of Connecticut residents.”

Mark Raymond, Connecticut Chief Information Officer and chair of the CET said, “CEN has been providing access to modern technology at scale to our communities in Connecticut for decades. Collaboration across agencies, municipalities, libraries, and schools enable lower cost, meaningful digital access for the public.”

Ryan Kocsondy, Director of the CEN, said, “CEN Connect is an amazing opportunity to ensure every anchor institution in every corner of the state has access to advanced network services and help the CEN continue to serve as the platform for transformative technology delivery for years to come.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “This historic investment in broadband infrastructure – connecting essential institutions to reliable high-speed internet – will help bring Connecticut communication into the 21st Century. Broadband is not a luxury – it’s an essential need and this funding is critical for supporting our workforce, government services, and online learning tools. I applaud Governor Lamont for his commitment to expanding connectivity and I’ll fight for programs that bolster broadband infrastructure.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said, “Access to reliable, high-speed internet is a basic necessity, and CEN Connect is a comprehensive plan to ensure people in every corner of the state can get online. It’s great to see dollars from the American Rescue Plan support this project and continue to pay dividends in Connecticut.”

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) said, “Broadband is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. When Congressional Democrats enacted the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, we invested in the Capital Projects Fund so that local communities could more easily connect to the digital world. Today’s investment in Connecticut’s broadband infrastructure, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will power opportunities for learners, employers, and educators across the state. These investments are particularly important for the rural communities I represent across eastern Connecticut.”

U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-04) said, “In the year 2023 every single Connecticut resident should have access to high-speed internet, and I’m glad to see the American Rescue Plan Act that I supported providing dollars to close the digital divide and invest in our broadband system. As the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, I am acutely aware of the threats posed by cybercriminals to local governments, school systems and libraries, and I’m extremely pleased that these funds are also going to help Connecticut beef up its cybersecurity infrastructure.”

U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (CT-05) said, “Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents lack access to affordable high-speed internet connection. My district has one of the lowest connectivity rates in the state. This federal investment in CEN Connect will update our infrastructure and support our workforce and healthcare system. Broadband is essential, and our state has been waiting for additional bold assistance to increase access to safe modern internet service. For over two years, the American Rescue Plan has delivered and transformed our communities. This is the next step forward to the long-term goal of ensuring all Americans have strong and reliable internet connection.”

Joseph DeLong, executive director and CEO of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said, “The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is proud to stand among other state leaders in support of Governor Lamont’s announcement of the recent $70.9 million dollar award in Broadband Improvement Plan funds to the Connecticut Education Network. The CEN provides critical broadband infrastructure to Connecticut’s anchor institutions like local governments, libraries, schools, and public safety facilities. As we have seen over the last couple of years, access to safe, secure, and reliable internet is essential. We applaud the CEN and Governor Lamont for their continued commitment to expanding broadband access in the state.”

CEN is one of the nation’s leading all-optical research and education networks providing a premier level of internet access, value added services, and personalized member service to more than 670 member organizations representing every Connecticut community. Established in 2000 as a joint venture between the State of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut, CEN is rooted in service to community anchor institutions. The CEN Connect Broadband Infrastructure Program will further empower each institution in their respective roles to support workforce development, digital government, learning, innovation, and health and human services.

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