Sunday, December 4, 2022

Ridgefield seeks federal funds for broadband, high-speed web

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RIDGEFIELD — The city goals to reap the benefits of potential federal funds to make sure each resident has entry to broadband, high-speed web service.

Towards that finish, Ridgefield has entered into an settlement with a software program growth firm to conduct a feasibility evaluation to see how shut the city is towards attaining high-speed web for all. A city survey discovered that residents and companies rated their web service poorly. 

“It is a fiber that sends gentle alerts so the quantity of data you may transmit is nearly limitless and the velocity is past something we ever skilled,” mentioned Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, when describing broadband.

The city’s purpose pertains to the approval of the federal government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, which is able to ship $65 billion to assist make sure that each American has entry to dependable high-speed web via a historic funding in broadband infrastructure deployment.

In 2023, the federal government will see which cities are “shovel prepared for broadband” and can allocate $40 billion to these initiatives. Municipalities which can be mapped with “shovel prepared” plans in place might be greatest positioned for that funding.

To assist get the city “shovel prepared,” Marconi signed a tri-party contract between the city of Ridgefield, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, and EntryPoint Networks, a software program growth firm to conduct a Broadband Feasibility Evaluation.

“The primary stage is a broadband feasibility research to attempt to resolve numerous issues like the place are the fiber traces proper now? What kind of construction are you going to have for fiber? Is it going to be a personal mannequin, a public-private partnership, or a public solely? Is it going to be open entry?” mentioned Glori Norwitt, chairman of the city’s Financial & Group Growth Fee.

She added having strong broadband networks is “essential infrastructure for Ridgefield” and mentioned she has been pushing for the city to start a feasibility research since March.

She mentioned, in accordance with EntryPoint, it would take roughly 4 months to finish the research.

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments, or WestCOG, will fund the $35,000 research via its grant program.

The subsequent stage in getting broadband for the complete city might be an engineering research that will contain the specifics of the places on the town for the implementation of the fiber. The research will be capable to inform precisely what number of houses have broadband. Norwitt mentioned leftover American Rescue Plan Act funds may be out there to pay for that research.

Want for broadband

The city has acknowledged a necessity for high-speed web service for a number of years. 

Ridgefield’s 2020 Plan of Conservation & Growth mentioned an goal of the city is to advertise excessive velocity/excessive capability broadband service for all components of the city.

Moreover, in 2021, the primary selectman’s workplace performed Ridgefield’s “Web Service Supplier Buyer Satisfaction Survey,” to which the city obtained a “D” score.

In all, about 10 % of Ridgefield’s households and companies responded, rating their residential and enterprise web service. 

Residents ranked their present web service as a “D+” and companies ranked their present web service as a “D.”

For residential web service:

  • 85 % of the city makes use of Comcast as their web service supplier, 15 % use Frontier (the State Broadband Workplace considers anybody with Frontier service to have sub-broadband speeds resulting from outdated infrastructure missing primary broadband speeds of 25 megabits per second/3 megabits per second)
  • 72 % often expertise transient service interruptions
  • 61 % expertise slowdowns when a number of individuals are utilizing the web within the enterprise or family 
  • 10 % expertise no issues in any respect

For enterprise web service:

  • 10 % complain of slowdowns when a number of individuals use the web
  • 8 % report buggering or lag whereas streaming video
  • 12 % report transient service interruptions 
  • Companies alongside the Route 7 hall report their enterprise web service goes down no less than as soon as per week.

Just lately, the city was planning to allocate $45,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act funds towards a broadband research. Nevertheless, as soon as WestCOG provided to fund the research, the city determined to make use of these funds.

“Our purpose is to supply open entry. What which means is that if we will get this infrastructure constructed with cash from the federal authorities … open entry would mean you can select who you need to do enterprise with and never have Frontier let you know, it’s a must to settle for their merchandise or Comcast, it’s a must to settle for their merchandise. This opens up the enjoying discipline and makes it a way more aggressive marketplace for all the residents in our city,” Marconi mentioned. “That is one thing that we actually need to present for our neighborhood and we need to be on the head of the road when the cash comes out from the federal authorities.”

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