Three Connecticut cities are joining forces in an effort to bring ultra high-speed Internet connections to the state. Officials from New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford announced a plan on Monday to begin talks with providers who could upgrade Internet speeds up to 100 times. Companies including AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox Communications and Google Fiber have already implemented similar upgrades at the local and regional level throughout the country, but such services have not reached most of New England.
State and business officials were also present at the unveiling of the plan, and warned that a statewide installation could take anywhere between three and five years. But they also expressed their optimism that the adoption of ultra high-speed connections could provide a significant boost to Connecticut's economy by making local businesses more competitive. West Hartford businessman Charles Ward said that Kansas City, which was the first city to begin installing Google Fiber in 2011, is already attracting a large startup community.
"We are part of a world economy," said New Haven mayor Toni Harp. "The time has come to move forward."
Elin Swanson Katz, the state's consumer counsel, agreed that high-speed Internet is no longer just a commodity. "There is an overwhelming need today for cheaper, easier access to ultra high-speed Internet service," she said. "Internet access is now a necessity. It's like electricity."
The plan is the latest move on the part of local and state officials to make Connecticut attractive to science and software developing companies. As mentioned on this blog recently, a science and technology startup community is in the works in Southeastern Connecticut. Obviously, this plan and others like it would benefit greatly from the availability of ultra high-speed connections.