TORRINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– What does the pandemic have to do with broadband? When workers and students were forced to work from home, many people ran into internet connectivity issues.
But the issues are beyond that according to experts who met with lawmakers Friday to highlight the issue. Leaders say the pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to the issue of access to quality internet. Now, a unique moment, a president who says high speed internet is the new electricity. Everyone needs access.
“It’s also a matter of equity and justice,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
Democrats in Washington including U.S. Senator Chris Murphy say they are working to invest in broadband as part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.
Governor Ned Lamont joined Murphy and local leaders Friday at the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation in Torrington. The topic was investing in broadband infrastructure.
“The plan is to appropriate enough federal money through this jobs and infrastructure bill we are debating right now to be able to deliver high speed connectivity to every house in America,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
From seniors who can’t afford internet access to connectivity issues impacting remote learners… officials say it’s an issue front and center to the NW corner and communities across Connecticut.
“It is our healthcare, our economy, our education. It is everything that is central to the lifeblood of our town,” said State Representative Maria Horn.
The state legislature is currently taking up Governor Ned Lamont’s bill that would make it easier for cities and towns to build out broadband.
“It includes mapping so we can tell our telecom companies these are the places that have internet access. These are the don’ts. Here’s the strategy for how we can get the wire there. Here’s the strategy for how we get the last mile there,” said Lamont.
One thing is clear working and learning from home aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.