Governor Lamont Announces Federal Approval of Connecticut’s Plan To Deploy $42.9 Million in ARPA Funding To Increase Broadband Internet Access in Underserved Areas
Lamont Administration Plans To Use Funding To Launch a Program That Will Expand or Improve Broadband for 10,000 Households and Businesses
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration’s plan to use $42.9 million in American Rescue Plan funding to launch a program that will construct and deploy the necessary infrastructure to expand broadband internet service in underserved areas of Connecticut has received approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program will be a competitive grant program designed to support the goal of statewide universal access to affordable, resilient, and reliable internet service. Specifically, it will get homes and businesses connected to broadband internet in areas that have been identified as lacking the necessary infrastructure to support this service, with a focus on those in low-income communities. It will be administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy and is anticipated to launch in early 2023.
The program’s initial target is to expand or improve broadband access for 10,000 households and businesses statewide. This includes access to symmetric upload and download speeds of at least 100 megabytes per second (Mbps), while progressing towards a statewide goal of universal access to download speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of 100 Mbps, and symmetric speeds of 1 Gbps for community anchor institutions. In addition to increasing access to broadband, the program will focus on improving the resiliency and reliability of these networks by prioritizing more robust topologies and methods of infrastructure deployment. This includes more resilient methods such as building infrastructure underground and designing failover traffic routes that direct traffic to a secondary resource when the primary resource is weakened.
Each of the internet service providers funded by the program will be required to participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides low-income households $30 per month off their internet bills.
Governor Lamont said, “Expanding access to high-speed internet is one of our administration’s top priorities because in a modern world, lack of broadband access means people are being held back from connecting to educational resources, job opportunities, and healthcare services. Until we tackle our underserved broadband challenges in our urban, suburban, and rural areas, we will not have equitable access for all and achieve the economic recovery that we need. I am glad that the federal government through the Biden administration has prioritized broadband access as an urgent need, and I appreciate their partnership with Connecticut so that we can build the infrastructure that is needed to get everyone online.”
In a joint statement, the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said, “Broadband is an important necessity of the 21st century, yet more than 20% of Connecticut residents still lack affordable, high-quality internet. This significant federal funding will help close the gap by providing reliable and reasonably priced internet service to the people in our state who need it most.”
DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said, “Broadband connectivity has become an essential part of life in today’s digital world, with important aspects of daily life increasingly happening online. Removing barriers to connectivity and making our state among the most connected in the country has long been a priority of Governor Lamont, which is why he worked with the legislature to designate a significant amount of American Rescue Plan Act funding for expanding broadband access. DEEP’s Office of Telecommunications and Broadband has already been hard at work, focused on developing equitable policies and programs to bring the economic and social benefits of broadband access to the residents and businesses of Connecticut. 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 U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund. This fund has a goal of carrying out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
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