20 Mar Why should we care about Broadband in NWCT now?
The Coronavirus crisis should open our eyes. Tens of millions of people in America are now dependent upon the Internet to work from home, to stay connected with families they cannot visit, to order supplies and food without courting the danger of visiting stores, to attend school from a distance. We don’t even know when it might end. We are lucky to have as many homes in Northwest Connecticut connected as we do. But over 26,000 homes in our region are not connected at broadband speeds commensurate with the current need.
We are not prepared for this. We have left this essential piece of infrastructure (broadband) to private carriers who cannot invest the money necessary to create high speed Internet access to all at affordable rates. We cannot blame them; they are in business to make a profit, and the infrastructure costs are just too great to provide service to everyone at prices all can afford. This is as true in cities as it is in rural areas. We have to start treating broadband like we treat roads. We do not ask private companies to create and repair roads and then make a profit from revenues derived from car use. We accept roads as a community expense. Broadband is now as important as roads. Under present conditions, broadband may be more important than roads for many. We have to wake up to the fact that we, as communities, must pay for some of it to realize universal, affordable broadband.
Northwest ConneCT is working to bring the next generation broadband to every home and business in our region.
What can you do now?
1. If you have some time on your hands in the coming weeks, visit https://northwest-connect.org/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/ and take 10 minutes to learn more about this initiative and how your town can participate.
2. Join a local broadband task force. Over the next 2 months we will be hosting a series of video conference calls with people interested in how their town might approach this issue. Contact us to learn more about these opportunities to participate.
4. Get information on actions the State is taking. Follow Representative Maria Horn on Facebook for comprehensive news about the state of the state, how various aspects of the crisis should be treated, and the laws around things like unemployment insurance and layoffs.
5. Specific Input. Maria Horn published the following information.