MAYORS SEEK PARTNERS TO DEVELOP GIGABIT INTERNET NETWORKS IN CONNECTICUT;
INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN THE EFFORT
(September 15, 2014 -- Hartford, CT) - New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp, West
Hartford Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, Stamford Mayor David R. Martin and state
Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), state Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Consumer
Counsel Elin Swanson Katz today issued a global call for companies and
organizations to develop ultra-high-speed gigabit or "gig" Internet networks in
the three cities.
The municipal effort grew from an April conference in Hartford on gigabit
networks that was hosted by the Office of Consumer Counsel.
"We knew it was an important economic development tool, but we've learned gig
networks are also essential for medicine, precision manufacturing, education,
e-government, many different people in different sectors clamoring for gig
networks," Katz said.
"These three cities have stepped out front to lead this project, but everyone involved in this project recognizes that there is strength in numbers," Katz said. "They are therefore inviting any municipality in the state to join the conversation by simply submitting an addendum describing their town's interest and assets. I don't think there's been anything quite like it around the country."
"This project is an important step toward making Connecticut the first gigabit state," Comptroller Lembo said. "It would be the ultimate economic assistance and incentive program - rewarding all business and industry with an infrastructure worthy of settling in Connecticut. It would serve as an open door to all businesses, including new ones and those already established here. The leadership of Mayors Harp, Martin and Cantor benefits not only their communities, but every community in Connecticut."
"This collaboration among our cities and these state-level groups will lead
Connecticut forward and avoid a damaging digital divide that could hinder the
progress of residents, students, researchers and those doing business in our
state," New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp said. "We're eager to see what the market
brings to our cities so we can put this technology in place to support commerce
and new business in today's digital, knowledge-based economy."
Charles Ward, chief information officer and technology analyst for a private investment firm in West Hartford, noted the many advantages of low-cost gig networks.
"There's no better example of how transformative gig Internet service can be than in Kansas City, where Google Fiber offers $70 a month Gig service. In Kansas City, in both Missouri and Kansas, they've seen existing Internet providers cut their prices, even if they couldn't match the speed of Google Fiber," he said. "Real estate prices have skyrocketed, fueled by 20-somethings attracted to the area's emerging startup scene who are working on what could be the next Google or Facebook."
Ward also applauded Connecticut's "bold investment" in The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX) in Farmington, "where genomics research using bioinformatics will generate oceans of data." He questioned, however, how Jackson Lab's employees would be able to access and work with the data from home without gig Internet service.
"Stamford is always looking toward the future," said Mayor Martin. "As part of
our city's economic development strategy, it is important that Stamford continue
to be on the leading edge of a technology that helps our local businesses be on
the forefront of their own markets. It's essential that the municipalities in
this state work together as a whole on this project in order to help Connecticut
achieve the success it is looking for."
Dr. Yu-Hui Rogers, Site Director at JAX, also expressed enthusiasm for the gig
project. "We would like to see the progress of science and medicine being
limited only by our intellectual capacity and imagination, not by the speed and
volume with which we exchange and share our data and ideas," he said.
"Throughout our nation's history, Connecticut cities have been leaders in
inventing the future. With this RFQ, Connecticut cities are again staking a
claim to lead in the 21st century global information economy," Levin said.
The RFQ, with instructions for submitting a municipal referendum, is available
online at ct.gov/occ and