The number one lesson with infrastructure is build more than you think you need. If you don't, you spend forever catching up. In Connecticut, this is especially true about mass transit. We didn't build any for decades and now we're so far behind that even becoming semi-respectable is going to take decades.
It's also true of our digital infrastructure. Connecticut is hitting off the back tees because of short-sightedness during the 90's. We didn't create the kind of tech hubs that could capture the explosive economic activity of the first digital revolution. But, there have been other ways and the latest has to do with building internet systems with ultra-fast carrying capacities.
The U.S. is behind the rest of the world in this regard and Connecticut is a little bit behind other places. But, we might be getting ready to sprint forward.
Mayors from three Connecticut towns are on the verge of bringing "gig" service to Connecticut. They're actively seeking private developers able to build ultra-high-speed internet networks and anxious to have more Connecticut towns and cities come on board. Before you ask if we should do it, let me give you an example of what it would mean. Gig networks deliver internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, more than 100 times faster than the average home speed of 9 megabits per second. While you'll say goodbye to the annoying blue wheels that signal a slowdown in service, gig service has far bigger consequences for our lives than blue wheels and fast movie downloads.
Chattanooga, Tennessee is the 4th largest city in Tennessee yet is an economic engine in both the state and the country. And, they owe it to the gig service they brought in four years ago that has transformed the city from what was once labeled by the EPA as the "dirtiest city in America," to a city with four tech incubator hubs, a thriving community of young tech-entrepreneurs, and skyrocketing economic growth and prosperity.
But, Comcast isn't making it easy.
- Elin Katz is Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut
- Blair Levin is Executive Director of Gig.U, a consortium of three dozen university communities seeking to accelerate the deployment of next generation broadband networks
- Toni Harp is the Mayor of New Haven
- Corinne Hill is the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Public Library
- Yu-Hui Rogers is Site Director for The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine