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Connecticut News

Connecticut ramps up internet programs to make high-speed service more available

A mobile hotspot device available at the Willimantic, Connecticut, library.
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU Public Radio
A mobile hotspot device available at the Willimantic, Connecticut, library.

Connecticut is rolling out expanded internet across the state to help those forced into remote learning and working as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The initiative is part of National Digital Inclusion Week, an annual campaign promoting digital equity across the country.

Dan Paquette with the Willimantic Public Library said the library has increased many of its internet services to help the local community.

“We created an exterior hot-spot café; it really expanded the internet access to the downtown area," Paquette said. "We’ve also provided 11 hotspots with the funding from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. These are hotspots that people can check out and take the internet anywhere they have to go.”

Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz said based on census data Connecticut still has a long way to go to bridge the digital divide that disproportionately affects communities of color.

“Twenty percent of white households in our state do not have broadband internet at home. Thirty five percent of Hispanic families lack internet in their homes and 34% of African American households lack internet in their home,” Bysiewicz said.

Since the pandemic began, Connecticut has spent around $43 million to purchase laptops and provide access to broadband internet services to allow students to continue their education remotely.