Connecticut's approach to technological development has largely been locally driven rather than statewide in recent times, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the adoption of super-fast internet. Ten municipalities have agreed to an initiative to install optic-fiber internet with speeds up to one gigabit per second, more than 100 times faster than the current average home connection. The expectation is that more towns, perhaps dozens, will join in the coming weeks.
In this case, the state is taking an active role in the project, although it will have to be the municipalities themselves that decide to participate. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz both agreed that high-speed internet is no longer just a luxury but a necessity for Connecticut's businesses to be able to compete on the national stage. Across the country, cities are striking deals with providers, with Kansas City, Missouri, and Louisville, Kentucky, these are well-known cities that probably don't need the states in their titles among the largest ones.
"High-speed internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity."
As this blog reported in September, New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford were the first to drive this initiative, which now appears to be moving forward. Still, this is a costly enterprise. The biggest expense is what is known as the "last mile," which is actually bringing the optic fiber to each individual business and residence. While this should prove easier in Connecticut than in more rural areas, the final bill could surpass $100 million.
There are several local and private initiatives underway to try to make Connecticut a leader in the STEM fields. Ultra-high speed internet would be a major boost to the state's software developing companies and to the region's plans of becoming an IT hub.