Partnership between state and AT&T to expand high-speed internet access

Technology

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont is moving forward with one of his campaign promises: to move Connecticut onto 5G internet service along the train lines.

The new partnership would make Connecticut one of the first states in the nation to have the service on rail lines.

On Monday, Lamont mapped out the details of a new partnership between the state and AT&T.

He said it’s a multi-million dollar investment from AT&T, who according to the Governor’s Communication Director, “stepped up first and is covering 100% of the investment without any state incentives, tax breaks or anything of that nature.”

As part of the deal, the state is giving AT&T access to state property for the build-out of the network, which will include 30-foot towers and rooftop antennae along the New Haven train corridor.

During the announcement, State Transportation Commissioner Joe Giuletti said consumers’ biggest complaint was not having reliable phone and internet service while riding the train.

If all goes well, Lamont said commuters will have the ability to use the train like their office.

“I don’t want to waste your time when you are on the train,” he said. “I want you to be as incredibly productive as you can. So by the end of this year, I hope we are going to have 4G service, no more dead zones, easy access. You’ll be able to FaceTime and do a lot of the work you can from your office in the train cars going forward. And soon thereafter, we get up to 5G service.”

During the next year, proper permits will be applied for and the state citing council will consider the plan detail for construction to begin.

The Office of Governor Ned Lamont released a statement to News 8 saying,

“Because the state owns the right of way for the rail on Metro North, we are encouraging all carriers who are interested in building coverage for the busiest commuter rail in the country to reach out to our Dept of Transportation and apply to build in various sites.

“Our Dept. of Transportation will provide high quality customer service and work with carriers to provide them all the information they need about the application, engineering and construction process.”

The announcement was not without protestors. A group held signs expressing concerns over what they consider “military-grade” microwaves that they also claim are unhealthy.

The administration has not said whether other carriers will be allowed to invest in 5G along the other train lines around the state.

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