|Many residents and business owners across our communities have mentioned to me that internet speed is slow and the cost of connecting to fiber optic is expensive. High speed internet, fiber-optic, is essential in doing business in the 21st century. It’s crucial for economic and workforce development, public safety, and government.
The fiber optic covering the state (the “Middle Mile”) was built in 2010 with $21.7 million of federal dollars and $10 million in state dollars to cover all schools, universities, and hospitals – the Meds and Eds. When federal funding ended five years ago, so did the state’s investment in Broadband.
The Broadband Joint Legislative Commission, which I co-chaired in 2015, made several recommendations that still have not been implemented. That’s why I’ve submitted House Bill 7906. Read Rep. Ruggiero’s press release on Broadband access.
It’s 2020, and Rhode Island is one of only two states in the country that does not have a broadband coordinator or anyone dedicated to technology trends, accessing federal funds, broadband policy, and improving connectivity.
We need to expand access to fiber optic in Rhode Island to everyone – business, municipalities, and residents can access the Last Mile of fiber optic. Right now, all hospitals, universities, and schools have LAST MILE fiber-optic connection from the Middle Mile, per federal law and funding.
Rhode Island can leverage economic development opportunities, access federal dollars, and improve connectivity for residents and businesses on Aquidneck Island and statewide. Are you frustrated by poor fiber optic service? Is it slowing down your business or blocking your access to information?
Let me know, because the more we can demonstrate real-life impact, the more convincing our case for change and the better our chance for success. I’m looking forward to your input.