Connecticut Cities Crowdsource Gigabit Nets
Representatives of state and local government in Connecticut have formed an alliance designed to attract investment in gigabit networks throughout their state.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, West Hartford Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor and Stamford Mayor David Martin -- along with state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), state Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz -- issued a joint RFQ to entities that might be interested in forming public/private partnerships or pursuing other avenues for creating Gigabit Cities in Connecticut, a state which currently has none.
The initiative is open to any and all municipalities in Connecticut to submit an addendum describing their town’s interest and assets to become part of the group, in hopes that more interest from more cities will translate into more interest from potential network partners.
"It's any telecom company, ISP, financier -- anyone who's interested in working with these cities to develop networks in their communities or on a regional basis," says Katz, who as consumer counsel heads a non-partisan state agency responsible for consumer advocacy.
The group modeled its approach after one taken by the city of Louisville, Ky., Katz says. "We're taking pieces from everything that works, but we think this is unique -- the first group that's said anyone in the state can join us."
Many US states have laws in place prohibiting municipal involvement in building and operating broadband infrastructure, but Connecticut is not one of them. On the contrary, Katz says, the state has favorable regulatory fees for pole attachments that make network construction appealing to a wide range of providers. (See Muni Utilities Take Gigabit Fight to FCC, Wheeler Urges More Broadband Competition and The Municipal Menace?)
The City of New Haven will administer and coordinate the RFQ. The group is expecting a wide variety of interest, including from incumbent telecom and cable operators that will respond to the clear demand from businesses and residents of the regions, Katz says.
"We hope to work with them, and we'll be talking with all of them," she says. "We do expect some pretty robust response."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading