The state of Connecticut will receive $42 million to connect 10,000 homes and businesses to affordable high-speed Internet, the federal government announced Tuesday. The project will provide broadband service to locations still lacking high-speed Internet in the state.
Connecticut was one of five states to receive the competitive grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, a former cable executive, said it was one of his top priorities.
“Lack of broadband access means people are being held back from connecting to educational resources, job opportunities, and healthcare services,” Lamont said. “Until we tackle our underserved broadband challenges in our urban, suburban, and rural areas, we will not have equitable access for all and achieve the economic recovery that we need.”
In a joint statement, the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said, “Broadband is an important necessity of the 21st century, yet more than 20% of Connecticut residents still lack affordable, high-quality internet. This significant federal funding will help close the gap by providing reliable and reasonably priced internet service to the people in our state who need it most.”
The U.S. Treasury Department agreed.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it — from work to school to connecting with friends and family — and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, but especially in rural, Tribal, and low-income communities,” Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said. “This funding will lay the foundation for the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet and reduce broadband bills for American households and businesses.”
The program helps ensure that households can afford the high-speed internet they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month.
In accordance with Treasury’s guidance, each state’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The FCC estimates that about 48 million families are eligible for the program — nearly 40% of households. President Biden and Vice President Harris recently announced the administration had secured commitments from 20 leading internet service providers — covering more than 80% of the U.S. population.