© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut’s $42.9 million plan to increase internet access receives federal approval

Keith Williamson

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that $42.9 million in federal funding has been approved for the state to launch a program to help close the digital divide in underserved communities lacking broadband internet access.

The Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program uses funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The goal is to improve broadband access for about 10,000 households and businesses, and enhance network reliability.

“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,” Lamont said in a statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic widened the digital divide in certain communities. For the almost 321,000 households in the state that did not have reliable high-speed internet at home, working and learning remotely posed a dilemma. Rural areas and communities of color have been especially disadvantaged when it comes to accessing affordable broadband.

“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,” said Katie Dykes, the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Connecticut has a statewide goal of universal access to faster download and upload speeds — this round of funding leverages about 100 megabytes per second. The program is expected to begin in early 2023.

Emily is a former news intern at WSHU.