Grants to boost internet speed

State grants are making high-speed internet possible for municipalities around the state.

The state recently announced that is was giving out $1.78 million to 45 municipalities, including Beacon Falls and Prospect, to extend the state’s fiber-optic infrastructure, known as the Nutmeg Network.

The Nutmeg Network is a state-sponsored and operated high-speed internet network that was, until recently, available only to police departments, fire departments and schools, Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

“That was done two or three years ago. It was a major undertaking,” Chatfield said.

Approximately a year ago the state decided to extend the network to municipalities as well, Beacon Falls First Selectman Christopher Bielik said.

The towns that are receiving these grants are the first towns that will be hooked into the network.

Beacon Falls will receive $52,100 and Prospect will receive $21,300 to bring the network into their town halls. This will cover the entire cost of bringing the network into the respective town halls.

Bielik said the network will help employees conduct their daily business, such as logging payments, faster and more efficiently.

The Beacon Falls Library, which is housed on the top floor of the Town Hall, will also see a significant increase in its internet speed, Bielik said.

Chatfield said the town wanted to be in this first wave of grants.

“When it was offered to the towns of course we jumped at it,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield said the town has recently enabled the payment of taxes and the ability to fill out applications for recreation activities on its website. Its current internet carrier is unable to handle the amount of data that requires, he said.

“This will work much faster and much more efficiently,” Chatfield said of the Nutmeg Network.

Neither Chatfield nor Bielik has received any information as to when to expect the equipment to be installed.

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