May COVID-19 Update

May COVID-19 Update

NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT COULD BECOME A PILOT PROJECT FOR FIBER BROADBAND UPGRADES TO RURAL AREAS NATIONWIDE!!!
This is what we will be proposing to our federal legislators over the coming weeks and we’d like your support. We hope to take the unique opportunity, while Congress is considering funding resources needed for economic recovery, to secure funding for a regional fiber optic network. We will face enormous competition for these funding resources. But we have a unique business model, a mature plan, and political allies with which to wage the battle in Washington later this summer or early fall. We will be requesting $110 million to provide trunk wiring across our region, passing every home and business. We are treating broadband like the critical public infrastructure that it is. Just like roads and sewer systems, broadband is a utility that requires government subsidies. We believe Congress is seeing broadband as essential now too.

The “new normal” is presenting real challenges to our communities: Zoom calls break up. Students in a household have to stagger online classroom times. A virtual doctor visit gets interrupted twice by choppy network connections. These are now common experiences as we live with Covid-19. Our obsolete copper-based networks are operating past their inherent capacity, both here and across the country. We need a fiber optic network. The pandemic has highlighted an infrastructure crisis that is causing Congress to seriously consider broadband subsidies as part of the next round of federal interventions.

Last week, our regional fiber initiative received support from the Northwest Hills Council of Governments, a regional council consisting of our twenty-one elected leaders to pursue this strategy of seeking federal funding in support for this initiative. Please consider contacting your members of Congress and express your support for fiber broadband infrastructure in northwest Connecticut.

CONNECTIVITY SURVEY UNDERWAY
A survey is currently being conducted in the Region One School District’s service area concerning internet access. This survey was created by the all-volunteer Sharon Connect Task Force to advise the Town of Sharon’s Board of Selectmen on options to address the lack of reliable high-speed internet and cell phone service in the area. This survey was made available to the administrators of the Region One School District and to officials in other towns to help them gather current information on high-speed access for their populations. To see the survey, or take it! Click here.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY? FEELING UNCONNECTED?
We are collecting stories of people in our region who are experiencing serious challenges due the limitations of their broadband service. These stories help us express the seriousness of this issue to our legislators and help us better understand the specific challenges many of our residents are facing. Here is an example: A second grade teacher who lives in Barkhamsted, CT and has to log out and then log back into a Zoom call with her students multiple times to unfreeze the Zoom session. What’s your story? Please contact us and share it.

FMI: Interested in learning more about our plan and how your town can get fiber to the home? Visit www.northwest-connect.org where you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions and more information than you ever knew you wanted.



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