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Federal grants help expand access to affordable internet in Connecticut

A Google broadband technician installs a fiber-optic network at a home of one of the early Google Fiber customers in Kansas City, Kan., in 2012.
Julie Denesha
/
Bloomberg/Getty Images
A Google broadband technician installs a fiber-optic network at a home of one of the early Google Fiber customers.

Connecticut has been awarded $5 million in federal grants to develop plans for digital infrastructure and expand access to affordable high-speed internet.

The money will support ongoing work to close the digital divide in Connecticut that was exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“About 20-25% of our folks have very slow or no broadband access. And that’s what we have to build out,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

“We’ve given the state some homework assignments from the federal government before we write a $100 million check, said Alan Davidson, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which awarded the grant. "We want to see your plan for how you are going to spend it. That’s what this money is for.”

The grants are part of the Biden-Harris administration's Internet for All initiative.

Davidson said Connecticut could receive more than $100 million over the next five years, depending on its plan.

The biggest need for access to affordable high-speed internet is in low-income neighborhoods, and in parts of the rural northwest corner, according to state officials.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.