During a grant award ceremony this evening, the Town of Easton awarded $1.5 million from their first round of American Rescue Plan Act funds to Easton Utilities for broadband improvement projects in Easton. “We are committed to ensuring the residents of Easton have superior internet service, which continues to prove itself as an essential service,” said Town of Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey.
The funds will be used for the second phase of the internet infrastructure upgrade in Easton which will provide the ability for Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) connections. The entire project has an estimated cost of $15 million. The initial construction cost is approximately $5 million and is expected to take about five years, followed by the final connections on each customer property, which will cost $10 million over multiple years. Easton Utilities will await the Town of Easton’s decision for the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funding, which is expected to be delivered by July 2022, to further fund this important broadband system upgrade project for Easton customers. “With this investment, we will continue our commitment to provide fast, reliable internet service and increase the capacity to support next generation technologies,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO for Easton Utilities.
Easton Utilities started planning for gigabit symmetric service for their existing internet customers about five years ago and completed the first phase of the upgrade in October 2020. This project spanned about two years costing approximately $10 million.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was enacted to provide additional relief for individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It included funding for state and local governments as well as education and COVID-19 related testing, vaccination support and research. In the first round of funding, the Town of Easton received $8 million of the total $16 million granted. “We prioritized the speedy disbursement of these funds to help our community thrive following an unsettling and challenging year,” stated Megan M. Cook, Town of Easton Council President.