Connecticut's proposed 1 Gig broadband plan attracts 46 municipalities

Connecticut's plan to build a statewide Gigabit-capable fiber network has brought a consortium of 46 of the state's municipalities, representing nearly 50 percent of its population, to participate.

Under its plan, these 46 cities are collaborating with a host of public company partners to form what they call a public partnership to build the network and offer services to consumers throughout the state.

In September, organizers of the CTgig Project issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to gauge interest and invite cities to participate in the program. Their hope is to increase access to ultra-high-speed gigabit networks in their cities and throughout Connecticut while simultaneously reducing the cost of such networks for businesses, high-tech industry, universities, homeowners and other users.

Elin Swanson Katz, Connecticut's Consumer Counsel, said many of the towns that decided to participate want to have a new way to deliver broadband to consumers in their communities.

"The response from our state's towns has been overwhelming," Katz said in statement. "I've heard over and over that municipal officials are frustrated with available Internet speeds and the cost to their towns of upgrading internet networks. These 46 municipalities have made the decision to take control of the situation."

Connecticut's efforts echo a similar initiative taking place in North Carolina. Six cities in the Triangle Park and Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina banded together with the aim of building a regional fiber network capable of delivering 1 Gbps broadband under the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN).

Participating companies in the NCNGN include AT&T (NYSE: T), which began discussions with the NCNGN about bringing its U-verse GigaPower offering to six communities, including Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, in April. Since then the service provider has agreed to build out service in Cary, Carboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Durham.

At the same time, AT&T has been extending fiber into more North Carolina-based businesses, including 93 new buildings in September, as part of its broader Project VIP fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) program.

Besides AT&T, the NCNGN has also attracted Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG), who has indicated that North Carolina could potentially be one of the stops in its own 1 Gbps fiber broadband expansion effort. However, it's unclear now where Google Fiber will go next as the service provider said late last week that it would delay an announcement about where it will extend its services until "early next year."

For more:
- see this release (.pdf)
- CNET has this article

Related articles:
Connecticut mayors make call for 1 Gig broadband open access network
FCC petitioned by EPB in Tennessee to overturn municipal broadband ban
FCC's Wheeler challenges Tennessee's anti-municipal broadband laws
Lawrence, Kan., proposes building its own 1 Gbps-capable FTTH network