It may have struck out on $175 million in education funding, but Connecticut struck gold Monday with more than $90 million in federal stimulus funds to improve high-speed Internet access for schools, libraries, and public safety personnel.
The $94 million grant, part of the $787 billion federal stimulus package, was the second largest grant of its kind. Colorado was the only other state to receive more money than Connecticut.
U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, who sits on the Commerce Committee, said the grant represents about a quarter of all the funds being announced Monday.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said it will help eliminate the technological divide and open doors to new jobs.
“Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy,” DeLauro said.
The broadband wire will be able to transmit data at the speed of one Gigabyte per second to 83 K-12 schools, 29 libraries, several government facilities and two community colleges. It will also be used help connect 524 public safety systems, including the 911 emergency used by more than 25,000 public safety personnel.
Lawrence Strickling, the U.S. Commerce Department’s assistant secretary for communications and information, who came to Hartford for the announcement Monday, said Connecticut’s grant was one of the most cost-efficient, at about $12,000 per mile of fiber optic cable.
The state will have three years to complete the project.