Will CT Be The First Gigabit State?

A consortium of 46 municipalities across Connecticut have agreed to enter into public-private partnerships to develop gigabit broadband networks.

What Happened?
A consortium of 46 municipalities across Connecticut have agreed to enter into public-private partnerships to develop gigabit broadband networks across the state. The initiative aims to make Connecticut the first gigabit state in the country.

Goal
Forty-six municipalities, accounting for 50 percent of the state’s population, are teaming up to bring gigabit broadband networks to Connecticut. The goal of the effort is to increase access to ultra-high-speed gigabit networks in a consortium of municipalities statewide. This, in turn, would reduce the cost network connectivity for businesses, the tech industry, universities and residents – making Connecticut a prime spot for relocation, development and economic growth.

As more municipalities join the consortium, the project becomes more appealing to broadband providers. The consortium is seeking financing from fiber network builders and internet providers. The municipalities involved in the consortium and the state of Connecticut will not be investing in the networks or internet service provisioning. Each participating municipality will, however, contribute assets and support to the projects.

The consortium movement aims to not only attract new businesses and development projects, but also increase competition in the internet access market, speed up connectivity for users and reduce costs.

Where It Began
The Connecticut State Broadband Initiative was originally founded from a $4 million grant issued to the state’s Department of Public Utility Control from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration – which was awarded $7.2 billion to expand access to broadband services nationwide.

Thus far, the $4 million grant has been leveraged to:

  • Create guidelines for the expansion of access to and adoption of broadband services in Connecticut
  • Design a state website devoted to broadband services
  • Collect data from all internet providers in the state to generate availability GPS maps on the website

The federal funding was awarded through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Initiative which was designed to empower state agencies and nonprofits to integrate broadband and IT resources into local economies.

So far, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has awarded $293 million to 56 grantees in every state, five territories and the District of Columbia. Each awardee will use the funds to aid municipalities in developing a stronger digital economy through:

  • Assistance to small businesses and community institutions in effectively deploying technology
  • Research into the barriers to broadband adoption
  • Innovative applications to increase access to government services and information
  • State and local task forces to expand broadband access and adoption

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a study illustrating how the state broadband program has generated billions of dollars in economic benefits to participating communities, as well as increased economic output and nurtured job growth. According to the research, the $4 billion invested in the initiative nationwide has enabled municipalities involved to grow 2 percent more than those not participating, which translates to boost in economic output of $21 billion annually.

Stay Connected
EfficientGov has reported on the extensive economic benefits associated with broadband connectivity,  as well as the unique initiatives municipalities are implementing to drive connectivity.

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EfficientGov is an independent information service providing innovative solutions to fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns around the world.