young families were flocking to our towns?
Northwest Connecticut is a beautiful place to live. But we face all the challenges in America of rural towns and smaller cities—aging population, fewer jobs, schools losing students, home sales difficult, tax base threatened. We cannot stand still. We either slide down a long and painful slope or we make a change that turns the corner to positive.
A necessary first step is to invest in a new regional telecommunications network designed for the future. We mean a fiber optic network with unlimited capacity and an enhancement to our mobile network. We mean a network which connects every home and business in our region. We mean a network which will enable economic growth, health services, better safety, improved home values, better education, and the digital home, the home of the future.
We are a private non-profit corporation formed by public and private officials in the northwest corner with three goals: (1) to orchestrate a fiber optic network in our region; (2) use that network to enhance our mobile network; (3) and facilitate the kinds of economic development such a network engenders. We have obtained state grants to pursue this work. We work closely with state network agencies and our regional Council of Governments. We have a plan and we are at work to make that plan happen.
2017-early 2018. Web site, legal package concluded, visits to all 25 regional communities, broad distribution of information and questions being answered. RFIs and RFPs to select vendors
May 2018. A major regional conference to explain everything to elected officials and community stakeholders
June-October 2018. Community engagement and community votes on subsidies
Summer 2018-Spring 2019. Network engineering
Early 2019. Head end build, first community build
Late 2021. Completion of fiber network, installation of mobile antennas
We are proposing a public/private partnership to build and manage a new network. Our region sprawls too much for a private partner to supply all the funding. We must contribute. The sums are not large per household, but they are necessary. Our business model provides income flow back to our communities as the network takes hold and secures a strong customer base. This is an investment. Our taxes now pay almost exclusively for the past. This is an investment for the future.
Implementing a high speed fiber optic network will greatly improve 9-1-1 service by promoting improved cellular coverage in areas that lack it, using small cellular antennas on utility poles and buildings. The fiber network will provide reasonable priced connectivity into the cellular carrier's network making it cost effective. We can only respond quickly if we get the call quickly.
All the Internet-connected, data-hungry gadgets that are coming to market sent a strikingly clear message: we’re going to need faster broadband networks.
"The healthcare needs of Northwest Connecticut would certainly benefit from a fiber optic broadband network and reliable extended mobile service. Not only would our ambulances be able to communicate in route, but the world of telemedicine would become available to our community. This will be particularly important as our population ages and most of us want to age-in-home.”
“Internet and cell service access is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is just as important today as electricity was 100 years ago. It’s not just about the 5 percent not built out. It’s about the economic future of this area.
Northwest ConneCT is a public advocacy organization comprised of elected representatives and volunteer citizens with two duties: orchestrate a twenty-first century communications infrastructure in the northwest corner of Connecticut; and promote economic development made possible by such an infrastructure.