Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New England state a microcosm of last mile telecom access barriers, disparities

A consultant's report prepared for the State of Connecticut on the state of its telecommunications infrastructure found significant access barriers and disparities. From the summary:

From our urban surveys in Hartford, Connecticut we found evidence of higher-quality fiber and cable broadband services in proximity to the poorly served locations. However, the individuals at those locations reported that service providers decline to connect users to those services, or will do so only at a prohibitively high cost—approximately $10,000 to $30,000 for a short street crossing. Also, services are costly—from $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

We found based on our field survey in rural areas that most areas had copper telephone service, areas in proximity to towns have cable TV, and there is frequently a third fiber telecommunications provider on major routes between towns and in in proximity to State buildings, fire stations, and libraries. However, these services were not readily available to many institutions and businesses—requiring significant effort by the institutions to understand their options and to be connected.

The report also found small business suffer poor telecommunications service. They are unable to obain the level of service they need relative to available services, face long delays in obtaining services, or are unable to obtain service even when infrastructure is relatively nearby.

 The full report issued this week by the state's Office of Consumer Counsel can be accessed here.

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