COMPTROLLER LEMBO ISSUES CALL TO ACTION BY ALL TOWNS AND CITIES TO JOIN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Comptroller Kevin Lembo today announced that - in a letter to all municipal leaders in Connecticut - he delivered a call to action for all municipalities to join a growing economic development movement by pushing for development of gigabit broadband service for residents and businesses in their communities.
Lembo said that statewide gigabit broadband development must be among Connecticut's top priorities to serve the collective interests of consumers, businesses and taxpayers.
"Gigabit broadband service would rapidly deliver information - serving as a superhighway for researchers, schools, businesses large and small and every household," Lembo said. "It would be the ultimate economic assistance incentive program because it would reward all business and industries, new ones and those already established here, with a superior infrastructure and an open door."
To achieve this, Lembo is encouraging all Connecticut municipalities to join a growing coalition of cities and towns that have issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) - essentially a request for information from interested parties to deliver ultra-high-speed gigabit networks in every community. Towns and cities can join by Dec. 12, 2015 and respondents' proposals are due by Jan. 13, 2015.
"There is no cost to your municipality in taking this important step," Lembo said in his letter. "In other areas of the country and in nations across the globe, development of gigabit networks is spurring innovation, attracting economic development and improving service while reducing costs for broadband consumers."
Lembo said the growing coalition of municipalities signing on to the RFQ - led by New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford and coordinated by the state Office of the Consumer Counsel - are seeking to create an environment where new and existing entrepreneurs can plug into a reliable and worthwhile network, and consumers and businesses alike can begin to reap more competitive pricing for broadband service.
A gigabit broadband network is capable of 1,000 megabit-per-second (Mbps) upload and download speeds. The current average speed in Connecticut is only 9 Mbps download and even slower upload.
"The current state of Connecticut's broadband infrastructure is unacceptable and must be addressed," Lembo said. He pointed to the development of gigabit networks in areas like Kansas City, MO; Austin, TX; and Chattanooga, TN where such development is spurring new start-up communities and attracting new corporate residents. Meanwhile, customer service has improved and costs for high-speed broadband has been reduced from -- in some cases -- several thousand dollars a month to approximately $70/month.
"For residential consumers of cable, phone and internet services the costs for bundled services has been reduced significantly," Lembo said. "The economic benefits are real."
At recent forums hosted by the Consumer Council and CT Technology Council, companies complained about the extreme cost of receiving ultra-high speed broadband service under Connecticut's existing infrastructure, and the enormous benefits that a gigabit network could provide in the state's most high-tech fields like bio-tech, precision manufacturing and technology companies, Lembo said.
"In one memorable instance a multi-national corporation with a precision manufacturing facility in New Haven stated that the only other location in the world in which the company struggled to receive necessary gigabit broadband service was in a rural Mexican town," Lembo said. "Joining the RFQ indicates your municipality's commitment to bring gigabit broadband service to your residents and businesses.
"As a small state with high population density we have a real opportunity to leapfrog other states by having access to gigabit broadband service statewide. Gigabit broadband networks are coming. Connecticut can get on board or be left behind."