MAYOR MARCIA LECLERC AND SIFI NETWORKS ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF ‘EAST HARTFORD FIBERCITY®’ PROJECT

October 6, 2021

Every Home and Business Will Have Access to Revolutionary All-Fiber Internet Network’s 10 Gbps Speeds – The Fastest Available in the U.S.

Governor Lamont, Sen. Blumenthal, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, and Mayor Leclerc on Hand to Kick Off First All-Fiber and First Open Access Network in Connecticut

(East Hartford, Connecticut….October 4, 2021) At a press conference today, Marcia Leclerc, Mayor, East Hartford and Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO, SiFi Networks, announced the launch of East Hartford FiberCity®, a revolutionary, infrastructure project to bring a fast, affordable, and reliable all-fiber internet network to every home, business, and Town-owned facility in East Hartford. The $40 million project is privately funded will provide access to all 50,000 residents and East Hartford’s sizable business community with speeds up to 10Gbps/10Gbps, the fastest residential speeds available in the United States. Notably, the East Hartford FiberCity® project will be an Open Access network, a wildly-successful model in the Western United States and Europe. With Open Access, fiber infrastructure is shared by multiple internet service providers (and other service providers), instantly bringing competitive service and pricing to the marketplace, improving the user experience, pricing, and protecting net neutrality. Like all SiFi Networks fiber builds in the U.S., the East Hartford FiberCity® project is privately funded with money in the bank, meaning there will be no cost to taxpayers.

“Today is a great day for East Hartford!” said Mayor Leclerc who has been working on the initiative to bring SiFi Networks to the town since 2017. “If we learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that every resident and business in East Hartford deserves access to affordable, reliable, high-speed connectivity. Fiber is an essential infrastructure and the East Hartford FiberCity® project will be a major economic driver for East Hartford and the region, enhancing business development and bridging the digital divide. I am proud of this significant accomplishment.”

Said Bawtree-Jobson: “From the beginning, East Hartford shared our vision for a connected community. Mayor Leclerc had the foresight to position the Town for the jobs and the economy of the future. We’re pleased to launch the East Hartford FiberCity® with her today and to announce that Flume Internet has signed on to be the first internet service provider on the network. The network will also enable the Town to offer Smart City services like traffic monitoring, automated permitting processes, and a more efficient way of governing. A great internet experience is finally coming to Connecticut,” he added.

Construction on the East Hartford FiberCity® project will begin in spring 2022 and be fully completed by 2024. It will be the first Fiber-to-the-Home network and first Open Access network in the Nutmeg State, where Governor Ned Lamont signed his groundbreaking broadband bill into law earlier this year.

Governor Ned Lamont said: “Broadband is not just a way to stream movies or scroll through social media on your phone. Access to affordable and high-speed broadband is what allows families to have uninterrupted internet when their children have homework to complete, and it allows mom or dad to have a reliable connection for their job interview using their computer. I have been fighting for increased access to high-speed broadband since I came into office and supporting these kinds of public-private partnerships have tremendous benefits for residents. This is an exciting announcement for East Hartford.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in America. Access to reliable and fast internet is a must-have for families right now- as workers have shifted to telework, students continue distance learning, and families utilize telehealth resources. No worker, student, or family should be left behind because of a lack of access to an internet connection. I am happy to see the town of East Hartford leading the way in pioneering this critical infrastructure to help close the digital divide for town residents.”

“With remote work and school now a part of our daily lives, the Town of East Hartford is taking a crucial step forward with the FiberCity® project,” said U.S. Rep. John B. Larson. “When this project is complete, every East Hartford business and home will have access to reliable internet at a low cost. Broadband is essential infrastructure, and I applaud Mayor Leclerc, town officials, and others who ensured this endeavor would get the green light.”

“We are living the modern age. It is a time when access to an affordable, reliable internet connection is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “The pandemic has exposed the digital divide within our state’s communities, and we cannot allow any Connecticut residents to be left behind. The City of East Hartford now serves as a leader by bringing the first “open access” network to our state. Accessible high-speed broadband for our state’s residents will ensure that every child, student, adult or senior citizen will have the ability to participate in our new digital world.”

“Access to high-speed internet is critical to the competitiveness of our businesses, students, residents and economy,” said David Lehman, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “SiFi’s new fiber infrastructure will be a game changer for East Hartford, boosting its attractiveness as a location for businesses and improving the quality of life for those that live and work in town. This project represents a model I hope to see replicated in other Connecticut communities in the near future.”

And while there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the announcement, Mayor Leclerc cautioned the community to beware of aggressive pricing offers from existing service providers.

“I would like to urge East Hartford residents to be cautious and not fall victim to being enticed into long-term contracts with existing providers while the East Hartford FiberCity® network is being constructed. Although such offers may appear tempting, they will not provide a comparative cost or speed that East Hartford FiberCity, once complete, will provide. In every instance, fiber wins on speed, reliability, and affordability.”

Bawtree-Jobson agreed and said: “Our plan is to build it once and build it right. It’s especially important for the community to go to www.easthartfordfibercity.com so we can connect you as construction crews pass your home or business. This is very important because our contractors will ultimately be assigned to other cities once construction is complete, and we certainly don’t want to leave any household behind. We’re very excited to work with the community on this exciting project!”