Month: March 2021

CT Ranks Above National Average for School Internet Connectivity Provided By CEN

Connecticut School Districts Are Above the National Average When It Comes to School Internet Connectivity

CT Ranks Above National Average for School Internet Connectivity Provided By CEN


Hartford, Connecticut (March 24, 2021) – Connecticut school districts are doing better than much of the country when it comes to having the school internet connectivity needed for digital learning, according to data published by nonprofit Connected Nation through its Connect K-12 website.

“In Connecticut, we have taken on digital equity as the Brown v. Board of Education of our time,” said Gov. Ned Lamont. “Whether it is connecting students at home through our Everybody Learns initiative or providing virtually limitless broadband to schools through the flagship Connecticut Education Network, we are working to ensure all students have an equal opportunity for digital learning, in every home and classroom, every day.”

An overview of the state’s school district connectivity report can be found here: It tracks the progress Connecticut schools have made over the last four years in reaching the federally-recommended goal of 1 Mbps per student—a goal set by the Federal Communications Commission.

Right now, 49% of Connecticut school districts are meeting or exceeding that goal. Whereas only 47% of school districts nationwide are doing the same.

“The progress Connecticut school districts have made over the last four years is incredible. They’ve made the leap from 32% of school districts to nearly half meeting the recommendation,” said Emily Jordan, Vice President for Connect K-12. “That has been possible through a robust state network (the Connecticut Education Network) that provides safe, scalable internet connections in a cooperative model that has kept pricing level even as consumption has increased. State and school district leaders have taken proactive steps to ensure that more Connecticut school buildings have the internet connectivity needed to ensure teachers and students have the resources for digital learning. We applaud the schools for leveraging their federal E-rate dollars to do more for K-12 education in the state.”

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CEN Partners with Members to Offer Free High-Speed Public Wi-Fi Access (2)

Seymour Offers Two Public WiFi Spots

CEN Partners with Members to Offer Free High-Speed Public Wi-Fi Access

SEYMOUR — The Town of Seymour IT Department, working in conjunction with the First Selectwoman’s Office as well as the Seymour Emergency Management Team, is pleased to announce the availability of two free public WiFi hotspots.

These hotspots are located in the parking lots of the Seymour Public Library (46 Church St) and Seymour Community Center (70 Pine St.).

The town is able to offer this through the Connecticut Education Network through Gov. Ned Lamont’s “Everybody Learns Initiative,” and it is open to the general public.

This program is being provided at no cost to local tax payers.

“At a time when connectivity is so important we could not be more excited to offer this to the residents of Seymour,” First Selectwoman Annmarie Drugonis said.

The information is from the First Selectwoman’s Office.


Read more about Governor Lamant’s Everyone Learns project here including the full list of public wi-fi access points.

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CEN Partners with Members to Offer Free High-Speed Public Wi-Fi Access

Connecticut Education Network bringing free, high-speed public Wi-Fi to Middletown

CEN Partners with Members to Offer Free High-Speed Public Wi-Fi Access

MIDDLETOWN — When pretty much everything goes online, pretty much everyone needs to be able to get online.

The public soon will gain access to a reliable Wi-Fi network free of charge in two areas of the city, as part of a state-funded program aimed at municipalities with high numbers of unconnected households.

The state identified Middletown as one of the towns that would most benefit from the service, according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s “Everybody Learns” initiative, which is creating 200 such community sites across Connecticut. It will be unrolled shortly at the Russell Library, 123 Broad St., and City Hall, 245 deKoven Drive.

“That’s exactly what the city of Middletown needs,” said Bryan Skowera, director of information systems. There will be no cost to taxpayers, and the hardware is being given to the city at no charge.

Since 2000, the Connecticut Educational Network has provided members “reliable, low-latency, high-speed networking and security services,” according to its website. The agency is run out of the University of Connecticut.

The public can access the service at gigabyte speeds within a 300-foot radius of the facilities, according to CEN.

“The joy of being able to host this at City Hall is that when the weather is nicer, we have park benches, shade, a nice lawn with a view of the river, and the deck around City Hall,” Skowera said.

The service requires direct access to the CEN’s fiber optic network, so he does not anticipate it being rolled out at city parks. “It is run either through the aerials on the overhead wires or through underground conduit,” Skowera said.

The service is also COVID-friendly, Skowera said. “There will be opportunities for people to gather, but not have to be close to each other to access the service.”

“The governor is very committed to bridging Connecticut’s digital divide, especially given the importance of internet connectivity as COVID-19 forces families to attend school, go to work, and get health care online,” according to a press release.

Already, people congregate near municipal offices, more so in spring and summer.

“In warmer months, I’ve always been used to seeing passersby, members of the downtown community and families taking advantage of the public space, during (for example) a nice Wednesday afternoon, sitting down, out of the office or taking a break on the weekend from their shopping — just sitting and reflecting on the beauty of the riverfront,” Skowera said.

Patrons also will be able to access broadband outside the Russell Library on the benches, lawn, nearby parking spots and, possibly, in the closest section of the Broad Street municipal lot, directly across the street, according to Director Ramona Burkey.

While some may be able to pick up a weak signal from the library, its Wi-fi technology is built for interior only, she said. “We’ve got those 200-year-old brownstone walls that are several feet thick, and the signal is not very strong outside from inside.

“With the access points outdoors, that are designed to be outdoors and have a pretty wide broadcast range, you’ll have a much better signal when you’re outside,” Burkey said.

After a year, these access points will be donated to the sites, which then will pay a very small fee ($100 annually) to maintain services, Skowera said. They are expensive, he added.

“All encompassing public Wi-Fi is a tremendous investment in a community. In some ways, it requires the creation of a utility, or utility-like, governing body,” Skowera said. “If you think about it, it’s not just a single piece of equipment.

“It is a series of different types of equipment that has to be constantly connected, monitored, and connected to an internet provider that people can rely on,” he said. “We can’t stop at deploying one access point and walk away from it, saying that will meet the community needs. It requires constant monitoring and constant maintenance.”

These hotspots are an alternative to businesses, such as coffeehouses, that offer free Wi-Fi to customers. “Students, families and anyone else who needs a place to go without having to buy a sandwich or coffee or be a consumer, they can access a free signal with reliable internet service,” Skowera said.

The library is offering curbside-only pickup during the pandemic.

“Now, anytime the library is not open, especially when the weather is nice out, people will be able to grab a free wireless signal and do whatever they need to do — whether it’s from a laptop or their mobile device,” Burkey said.

“That resource will be available to them at any time: 24/7, 365 (hours a day) just outside the library,” she said.

“The internet service is leveraging CEN, which is a wonderful resource for municipalities, schools and library systems behind the scenes, without any work from the public who use it, the public agencies who leverage it, and schools that rely on it,” Skowera said.

CED also provides “excellent protections,” which stop [Blockchain Denial of Service] attacks, Skowera said. “They provide such amazing services to us. They are a success story, from top to bottom.

“They’re a very small agency that provides an immense amount of services that protects our children, our constituents, and they’re available for businesses as well,” the director said.


Read more about Governor Lamant’s Everyone Learns project here including the full list of public wi-fi access points.

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