Governor Lamont Announces Federal Approval of Connecticut’s Plan to Allocate $42.9 Million in ARPA Funding to Improve Broadband Internet Access in Underserved Areas
The Lamont administration plans to use the funding to start a program that will expand or improve broadband to 10,000 homes and businesses
(HARTFORD, CT) – Gov. Ned Lamont announced today that his administration’s plan to use $42.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds to begin a program that will provide the necessary infrastructure to expand broadband Internet service in underserved areas of Connecticut, approved by the US Treasury Department.
The Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program will be a competitive grant program designed to support the goal of universal access nationwide to affordable, resilient, and reliable Internet services. In particular, homes and businesses in areas that have been identified as not having the necessary infrastructure to support this service will be connected to broadband internet, with a focus on people in low-income communities. It is managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy and is scheduled to start 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 upload and download speeds of at least 100 megabytes per second (Mbps), while also achieving a nationwide goal of universal access to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) download speeds and upload speeds of 100 Mbit/s and symmetric speeds of 1 Gbit/s for community anchor institutions. In addition to improving broadband access, the program focuses on improving the resilience and reliability of these networks by prioritizing more robust topologies and infrastructure deployment methods. These include more resilient methods such as building underground infrastructure and designing failover traffic routes that direct traffic to a secondary resource when the primary resource is weak.
Each of the ISPs funded through the program must participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers low-income households a $30 monthly discount on their Internet bills.
said Governor Lamont, “Increasing access to high-speed internet is one of our administration’s top priorities because in a modern world, the lack of broadband access means people are prevented from connecting to educational resources, employment opportunities and healthcare services. Until we address our underserved broadband challenges in our urban, suburban, and rural areas, we will not have equitable access for all and achieve the economic recovery we need. I’m pleased that 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 infrastructure needed to get everyone online.”
In a joint statement, members of the Connecticut congressional delegation said“Broadband is a major necessity of the 21st centurySt Century, but more than 20% of Connecticut residents still do not have affordable, high-quality Internet. This significant federal funding will help fill the gap by providing reliable and affordable internet service to the people in our state who need it most.”
said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, “Broadband connectivity has become an essential part of life in today’s digital world, with important aspects of daily life increasingly taking place online. Removing connectivity barriers and making our state one of the most connected in the country has long been a priority for Governor Lamont, which is why he has worked with lawmakers to secure a significant amount of American Rescue Plan Act funding for expanding broadband access to provide. DEEP’s Office of Telecommunications and Broadband has already worked hard and 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 in awarding this significant funding to our state.”
The grant comes from the US Department of the Treasury as part of the American Rescue Plan Act capital project fund. This fund aims to implement critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health surveillance, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
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