NORWALK, CT - Governor Ned Lamont on Monday joined executives from AT&T at a news conference in Norwalk to announce the launch of a new public-private partnership that will allow for the deployment of cutting-edge technology along the New Haven Line – the busiest commuter rail line in the United States – from New Haven to Connecticut’s western border that will vastly enhance and improve the traveling experience of commuters.
Specifically, the state has worked with AT&T to make its right-of-way along the rail line available for the placement of small cells and related equipment and implement it in an expedited manner. In turn, AT&T has developed plans to use this access to install a series of small cell nodes, which will work in tandem with the company’s existing network to provide better coverage and higher data speeds to customers using their devices while traveling on the New Haven Line.
AT&T’s network enhancements will provide 4G LTE service today, which the company can upgrade, via software, to 5G as that technology matures and customer demand calls for it.
“Here in Connecticut, we are thinking about infrastructure differently than other states, and that includes access to high-speed internet networks,” Governor Lamont said. “By partnering with telecommunications companies like AT&T and giving them the ability to install their necessary equipment on state property, we can expand internet access to more residents, including commuters of our rail lines. Families will be able to connect with each other more reliably on the train ride to and from work, meaning mom and dad can have a video chat with their kids and the signal won’t stop due to poor coverage. These kinds of investments will boost productivity and significantly contribute to Connecticut’s already high quality of life, all while making the state more attractive to future employers. Once again, this is another example of a public-private partnership we were able to create that will benefit our residents while doing so in a cost-effective manner. I thank AT&T for working with us and taking the initiative on this project.”
Consistent with Governor Lamont’s vision for expanded 4G LTE and forward-looking 5G service in Connecticut, AT&T has committed to continue working closely with the state’s recently created Council on 5G Technology, the governor’s office, and Connecticut Department of Transportation to enhance service and expand 5G in the state. In fact, on November 22, 2019, AT&T announced that the company’s 5G network will soon launch over low-band spectrum in several New England cities, including Bridgeport.
“Governor Lamont’s vision for a modern, connected, and cutting-edge Connecticut is taking a large step forward with this historic public-private partnership,” John Emra, President of AT&T Connecticut, said. “AT&T’s network enhancements along the New Haven Line will greatly benefit commuters today and also lay the foundation for the next generation of technology. We thank Governor Lamont and his team for their collaboration and dedication to making our state a leader in wireless technology.”
In addition to AT&T’s small cell installations along the rail line, 132 new rail cars purchased as part of Governor Lamont’s CT2030 proposal will be designed in partnership with industry experts and equipped with roof-top antennas that enhance cellular connectivity by amplifying 4G and 5G signals throughout the cars. This approach allows railroad operators to focus on their core mission of providing safe and reliable train service, while keeping responsibility for cellular and internet coverage with the companies that do it best.
“CT2030 envisions a rail service that is faster, more frequent, and more reliable,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti said. “Our plan includes the purchase of 132 rail cars and 30 locomotives that will be critical to making Governor Lamont’s vision a reality. We have begun listening to our customers and rail advocates to understand what they would like: more comfort, work tables, better lighting, charging for mobile devices, and enhanced connectivity – and we plan to deliver.”
“Improving the ability of residents and businesses to connect to high-speed networks is critical in our efforts to spur economic growth and job creation,” Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman said. “Public-private partnerships like this will go a long way to strengthening our state, and I applaud AT&T for their commitment on working with us to make our state an even better place to work and live.”