Connecticut is on pace to become the nation’s first “gigabit state,” with officials in 46 towns working together with private industry to develop ultra-high-speed Internet networks in their communities.
The towns, which make up about a quarter of the state’s 169 municipalities, are considering requests for proposal that can bring in the technology at a reduced cost to citizens, business owners and education institutions.
The Medium's the Backchannel sums up the benefits for the state:
Talk about your labor-saving, productivity-enhancing inventions — dozens of Connecticut towns are now on a path towards installing wholesale fiber networks connecting all homes and businesses. And those flinty Yankees won’t be paying for the installation of these open access networks themselves, because fiber, with its predictable up-front cost and steady returns, is an excellent long-term investment for private companies. Meanwhile, any ISP will be able to use these networks to sell service directly to homes and businesses.
Increasing Internet speed has been a priority of politicians and, in turn, state technology leaders in recent years. Increased Internet speeds are seen as an economic benefit that entices not only residents but also corporations to locate in the state. It’s also seen as helpful to education institutions – both higher education and K-12 – that can use the connectivity to better serve students and researchers.
“The response from our state’s towns has been overwhelming,” Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz said in December. “I’ve heard over and over that municipal officials are frustrated with available Internet speeds and the cost to their towns of upgrading Internet networks. These 46 municipalities have made the decision to take control of the situation.”
Gig networks deliver Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second or 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). That is more than 100 times faster than the average home speed of about 9 Mbps and provides users with the ability to upload and download information easier than even before. New Haven, Stamford and Hartford and the 43 other towns that joined represent a little more than half of the state’s residents.
Right now the towns are considering the RFQ responses that were received by the state in January. Any entity that has the cash to string the wires in the first place — say, an investment bank — will be reaping steady, reliable returns for the next thirty years. It’s a great investment. And the plan puts Connecticut, that practical home of Yankee ingenuity and can-do labor-saving devices, on the global fiber map.