Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



June 9, 2021

Senate Gives Final Passage to Bill Improving Equitable Access to Broadband

Tonight, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, led the Senate’s approval of legislation improving access to broadband internet statewide, benefitting significant swaths of Connecticut’s residents. The legislation, which previously passed the House and will proceed to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk for signing into law, will take significant steps to expand access and availability of high-speed internet, a resource increasingly important in the modern age. This bill was one of the foremost priorities for the Governor’s administration in the 2021 legislative session.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many truths about our modern world, including the importance of broadband internet,” said Sen. Needleman. “Yet as of 2018, 23 percent of Connecticut residents did not have internet. When education and many industries went online during the pandemic, it is clear many residents were left behind. In a world where internet access is all but necessary for so many, we need to make sure more people can access high-speed data. I’m grateful to my colleagues for their hard work in pushing Connecticut’s internet infrastructure forward, as well as Governor Lamont for making this a priority.”

House Bill 6442, “An Act Concerning Equitable Access To Broadband,” takes the following steps to expand access to broadband internet service:

  • The Office of Policy and Management must develop and maintain an up-to-date broadband map showing the availability and adoption of broadband services in Connecticut
  • The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner must establish and administer a grant program to support the deployment of broadband service
  • DEEP must maintain a public listing of federal funding opportunities to facilitate deploying broadband service and broadband providers to notify DEEP if they intend to apply for funding
  • The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority must impose certain requirements on broadband providers seeking to apply to build certain underground facilities, such as notifying other providers about a proposed excavation to reduce the potential for future street excavations in the same location
  • Each broadband providers is given the same right of access to an occupied building as telecommunications service providers have under current law
  • The State Building Code must be revised to require new construction or major alterations of a commercial or multi-family building includes a minimum requirement to support broadband service