Monday, September 13, 2010

Rep. DeLauro Leads Connecticut Democrats in Announcing $93.9 Million Broadband Stimulus Award

Infrastructure Champion DeLauro Delivers Broadband Network for Her State 09/13/2010 San Francisco - Congressman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03) this morning took the lead in announcing a $93.9 million broadband stimulus grant for a statewide optical fiber middle mile network in the Nutmeg State.  

Rep. DeLauro (r) joins other House Democratic leaders (l to r) Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD),
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), and George Miller (CA)
at the White House on July 14 following a meeting with President Obama at which
legislative priorities were discussed. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy, and broadband represents the cutting edge infrastructure of the 21st century.  In order to compete with the advanced and emerging power centers across the globe, these investments are absolutely critical. With this funding, our state will not only be able to preserve and create critical jobs –  it will open doors to new jobs for all our residents," said in a press statement released  by her Washington office this morning.

The new network "will spur technological advancements in education, health and public safety that will provide longer-term economic benefits," continued DeLauro. "I look forward to seeing these projects implemented, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that Connecticut remains a leader in technological innovation, and that all our residents have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century economy,” concluded the Congresswoman, a senior House Democrat who serves as Co-Chair (Steering) of the powerful House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

DeLauro's Connecticut third district, centered around New Haven and extending into the Naugatuck Valley's former industrial towns, hosts high tech manufacturing giants Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft, both divisions of United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX). DeLauro has often used her senior standing in the House to push infrastructure spending and technology support legislation. 

Last year she was the lead sponsor of the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2009, legislation around which much of President Obama's recent $50 billion infrastructure legislation is modeled.  Whatever federal capital subsidies for broadband deployment look like in the years ahead, Rep. DeLauro will have a hand in crafting them.     

This $93 million federal grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will benefit residents across the state, improving public safety and increasing access to the internet for students of all ages, and the general public who use public library computer access.  The Connecticut Department of Information Technology, in its grant application, noted that this award could create nearly 1,200 jobs.  Connecticut will be able to access the funds over a three year period.

Recovery Act investment that will help improve broadband internet access to improve the state’s education system and public safety capabilities.  The funding will be announced at 2 events, one this morning in Hartford and the second this afternoon in Stamford, where Congressional delegation members will be joined by Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For Connecticut’s K-12 school districts, colleges and universities, public libraries and public computing centers, this project aims to deliver 100 megabits per second service.  The project would extend 675 miles of new fiber optics, install the necessary hardware to support the 100 Mbps service, including three new hub routers and offer user support to all Connecticut Education Network (CEN) members through the Connecticut State Department of Information Technology.  

Connecticut’s public safety system will benefit immensely from this grant.  In 2006, a study by the Connecticut Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications recommended the establishment of a new, integrated public safety data network.  The study also found that the network infrastructure systems that Connecticut public safety agencies utilize barely met the bandwidth requirements and were grossly inadequate for near or long term projected future data transmission requirements.  So this grant will fund a two phase project to update the network infrastructure. 

“High-speed Internet access is increasingly important for communities to thrive in today’s digital economy,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “This Recovery Act investment will improve public safety and educational services throughout the state, create jobs, and help lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.”

“This critical funding for broadband infrastructure represents an investment in Connecticut’s future,” said U.S. Senator Chris Dodd. “Not only will this funding help create Connecticut jobs now, but it will also help to build a strong foundation for long-term growth and success, which will benefit businesses, students, and communities across the state well into the 21st century.”  

“This funding will greatly increase broadband access in Connecticut by enhancing public safety capabilities for our first responders, improving educational services for our students, and upgrading the overall broadband infrastructure in our state’s underserved regions. The Recovery Act provided targeted investments throughout the nation to spur the economy and grow jobs. The Broadband USA funding will help facilitate economic growth and create local jobs in the state, specifically in our urban and rural communities,” Congressman John Larson (CT-1).

“Increasing access to faster internet service can do so many things for so many people across the state, including help people find jobs faster, open up new doors for students of all ages, and assist our public safety officials.  And installing this technology won’t happen without supporting jobs in our communities.  It’s a huge win for the state and our future economic growth,” said Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5).

“I welcome this transformational project for eastern Connecticut and the entire state. The benefits to our economy, education, and public safety are significant and far-reaching. This broadband upgrade will spark further economic recovery through immediate job creation and a long term competitive edge for our region,”  said Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2).

“This award is another example of our work to create jobs in the near term, while also building a foundation for sustainable job creation in the long term,” said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4).  “Projects that will benefit from this investment will connect those who have, for too long, been without the full economic, educational and social benefits of high-speed internet access.”
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