The CT Gig Project was unofficially born in September of 2014 with a day-long series of roundtable discussions hosted by the Connecticut Office of the Consumer Counsel. Assorted panels of municipal leaders, state officials, telecom providers, information technology professionals -- and even genomic scientists -- discussed the potential benefits and challenges of building a statewide fiber optic network capable of delivering gigabit-per-second broadband to Connecticut residents and businesses.
What is a Gig?
The term “gig” refers to Internet speeds of one gigabit-per-second (a gigabit is 1,000 megabits). Nationally, Internet speeds average about 9MB/sec. To put this in perspective, one gig is approximately 100 times faster than the average household Internet speed. In Connecticut, we overshoot the average, but a move to gigabit Internet would exponentially increase speeds throughout the state.
Why does that matter to you? It matters because it is fast – very fast. Ultra-high-speed Internet is about more than fast access to music and movies. In our competitive global economy, access to fast Internet has become the lifeblood for businesses and backbone of economic development.
Why We Need It:
As representatives of the CT Gig Project have traveled the state, we have heard from many business owners who are demanding higher Internet speeds at more affordable prices. Their needs are not being met. Bolstering our high-tech infrastructure will give a leg up to existing Connecticut businesses, and help lure new industries to the state.
As an example, Chattanooga, Tennessee constructed a municipally owned gigabit network to serve their businesses and residents at very affordable prices. In the time since, businesses have moved major operations to the area, and start-up companies have blossomed. Chattanooga has revitalized their economy and transformed their reputation from a sleepy railroad city into an advanced hub of innovation.
To obtain gigabit Internet in Connecticut, our businesses are often paying thousands of dollars more than their counterparts in cities such as Chattanooga or Kansas City, Missouri. Our businesses and households pay more for less.
The CT Gig Project is committed to driving down prices through smart infrastructure planning, and by using an open-access network model.
The open-access model would introduce true competition into the Internet marketplace. The idea is to build the infrastructure and then give Internet providers equal access to utilize it. Your Internet choices should be made based on price and service, not solely by the town boundaries you reside in.
Gigabit Internet is not a magic bullet. It is a tool. High-speed, low-cost Internet is a tool that we can provide to our residents, businesses, educators and students. The greatest benefit of a gigabit network will be realized in the big ideas of young inventors and entrepreneurs who are looking for a reason to stay in Connecticut instead of setting out for the technologically greener pastures of San Francisco, Boston or New York. Making Connecticut the first gigabit state is our best chance to capitalize on the incredible creativity, ingenuity and intelligence owned by our friends and neighbors. If we get this right, we win.
Over 100 Connecticut towns and cities have expressed interest in bringing open-access gigabit Internet to their communities. The next step is to study the market and cost factors that each community can expect, and to devise an efficient and cost-effective strategy for network deployment.
For Connecticut businesses and consumers, it is critical to remain engaged in the process. Keep the momentum going by reaching out to your town and state leaders and declaring your support for the CT Gig Project.