Bridgeport’s big broadband plans stumble

BRIDGEPORT — City officials have spent much of Bridgeport’s share of $110 million in federal coronavirus relief, but one of Mayor Joe Ganim’s stated priorities for a portion of the money, improving broadband infrastructure, is not get moving.

And while supporters of the effort expressed disappointment, there’s also the question of what exactly will happen next with that particular $8 million reserve.

More than a year ago, in August 2021, the mayor’s office announced various ways in which it planned to use the city portion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars, from helping hundreds of local businesses and non-profit organizations to funding youth programs and helping residents facing eviction. And those have come to pass.

One of the largest single investments was $8 million in broadband infrastructure to help provide residents and businesses with better high-speed Internet access. Earlier this month, Tom Gaudett, a Ganim aide who was heavily involved in overseeing the use of ARP dollars, briefly mentioned to City Council budget committee members that the broadband project was, in fact, was not taking place.

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