46 Connecticut Towns Sign On To Plan For Massive Municipal Broadband Project

Connecticut might be a small state, but they’re poised to make a large leap into the 21st century internet. Local officials have announced they’re joining together on a plan to create at least 46 local municipal gigabit fiber networks in the state — an enormous jump from their current number of zero.

The Hartford Courant reports that leaders from Stamford, New Haven, and West Hartford first announced the initiative in September. Between the announcement and the deadline, an additional 43 towns in the state signed on.

The plan is, as the formal language has it, to “issue[] RFPs to create public-private partnerships resulting in open-access fiber networks in many Connecticut municipalities providing a variety of competitive Internet-based services to residents, businesses, and community anchor institutions.”

Or, in other words: to make internet service in Connecticut better for everyone through a local-level, public project that would bring gigabit fiber (like Chattanooga has) to the state’s residents and businesses.

Those 46 towns, out of Connecticut’s 169, represent over a quarter of the municipalities in the state.The list (PDF) includes a wide variety of towns, from the large and well-to-do to the small and entirely underserved. All have in common that the current options in the state — which is Comcast country — are simply not meeting their needs.

Connecticut is not one of the twenty states with some kind of incumbent-sponsored law against muni broadband on the books, so that’s one less obstacle standing between residents of the nutmeg state and blazing-fast internet speeds.

Towns had until December 12 to submit their applications to participate; companies interested in the contract for building the network need to submit their proposals by January 15. The state broadband commissioner did indicate in a statement that other towns may also be able to join the project down the line.

No doubt at least 46 Helens agree: Connecticut residents will benefit heavily if the broadband plan pans out.

46 Connecticut Cities And Towns Join Ultra-High-Speed Internet Project [Hartford Courant via DSL Reports]

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