New Haven Public Libraries Have a New Gig (abit) Network

April 11, 2016

New Haven – Mayor Toni N. Harp and New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) Director Martha Brogan announced today – to coincide with the start of National Library Week – that high-speed broadband internet access and improved Wi-Fi service is now available at the Ives Main Library and at all four of the system’s neighborhood branches. This upgrade is consistent with a Harp administration priority to bring public resources to bear and bridge the existing digital divide in New Haven.

“Today’s announcement signals terrific progress toward our goal of improved access to technology and increased digital literacy across-the-board in New Haven; library patrons citywide will now have at their fingertips gigabit speed in all their computer transactions,” Mayor Harp said. “The ability to use digital technology is now an absolute necessity in our culture – this new feature in all library branches gives all city residents the opportunity to participate fully in the high-speed exchange of ideas and information.”

“We’re excited to lead the way in the City with gigabit speed service from all of our locations,” City Librarian, Martha Brogan, states, “knowing that many residents rely on the public library’s computers for a diverse set of tasks ranging from job-hunting and filing their income tax to reading online magazines and keeping up with local news.”

There were more than 140,000 log-ins registered from NHFPL’s 180 public workstations last year. Increasingly, library customers also access the internet from their personal e-devices—cell phones or tablets—and now they will have improved, secure wireless connectivity throughout the library system.  Through its state-of-the-art technology infrastructure and tech-savvy staff, who teach digital literacy and offer one-on-one computer consultations, the NHFPL plays a pivotal role in bringing digital access equity across New Haven’s neighborhoods.

The project is made financially feasible thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) e-rate program which provides discounts to assist libraries and schools in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunication and internet access. Under the direction of NHFPL’s IT Manager, John Glendon, Digital BackOffice (Milford, CT) which manages NHFPL’s broadband services, designed and implemented the broadband and Wi-Fi upgrades.

As a partner with NHFPL, DBO Managing Partner, Ron Rich understands that “dependable internet service is critical for business, government, education and libraries” and DBO guarantees that the NHFPL wide area network will have less than 1 hour of unscheduled downtime per month. With support from DBO, NHFPL participates in the Connecticut Education Network (CEN), established in 2000 to integrate high speed fiber optics networks into educational institutions, including public libraries.

This initiative is integral to the CT Gig Project, a coalition of municipalities, where Mayor Toni Harp has taken a leading role, through a commitment to bring high-speed, low-cost internet to all residents and businesses in Connecticut.

According to a recent report on Lifelong Learning and Technology released by the Pew Research Center, “Technology assets are strongly tied to the likelihood that people engage in personal learning online. Those with multiple access options (that is, a smartphone and home broadband connection) are much more likely to use the internet for most or all of their personal learning – by a 37% to 21% margin – relative to people with one or no access options.”

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