Submitted by Norm Needleman, State Senator.
I have heard from many of you about frustrations with Comcast and other internet providers imposing data caps. I’m pleased to share that after negotiations and discussions between Comcast leaders, myself, fellow leaders of the Energy & Technology Committee and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, the internet provider announced it has delayed the rollout of data caps on internet services until at least the end of this year.
Initially, had the caps gone into place, customers using more than 1.2 terabytes of data in a month would have seen additional fees for every additional 50 gigabytes of data used, receiving a $10 fee for every 50 gigabytes with a maximum monthly total of $100.
As we are still in the grip of COVID-19, with many citizens still working and learning from home, the need for robust, unlimited, high-speed internet has never been more critical. I, and my fellow Energy and Technology Committee leaders, want to make certain that this service continues to be available at a cost that does not cripple individuals and families fiscally. Moving ahead, we look forward to continuing our conversations with Comcast’s leadership to make sure quality high-speed internet access is available to all our citizens at affordable rates.
Improved Efficiency in The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has launched two new programs to improve efficiency in doing business in Connecticut. Its new Client Concierge Service is a central point of contact to guide applicants through the environmental permitting and review process, particularly helpful for organizations managing complex projects requiring multiple permits. Additionally, two sets of regulations involving pollution cleanup have seen new updates, giving property owners newfound flexibility and significant cost savings.
Today, Connecticut reported 1,198 new cases of COVID-19. Those cases were found as a total of 46,396 tests were administered, resulting in a daily positive test ratio of 2.6 percent. Tragically, another 27 deaths related to COVID-19 complications were reported, increasing the state’s pandemic death toll to 7,523 people; currently, 535 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, a decline of 33 from yesterday.
COVID-19 Rates Plummeting in Nursing Homes
Since the week of January 5, the impacts and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine have become apparent in state nursing homes. The week of January 5 saw 483 new cases of COVID-19 in nursing home settings, with numbers declining by significant margins as more vaccinations took place and more residents received protection from the virus. The week of February 16 saw just 30 new cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes, representing a weekly decline over the last seven weeks of more than 400. This bodes well for the state’s recovery in coming months.
More than 500,000 State Residents Have Received A Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine
As of Thursday, February 18, Connecticut has administered 504,129 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 242,759 people receiving second doses and 746,888 total doses administered statewide. Connecticut climbs up to third nationally in vaccinations in relation to population, and 68 percent of residents over the age of 75 and 29 percent of residents between the ages of 65 and 74 have been vaccinated. While extreme winter weather in much of the country has caused disruptions in some distributions, the state is managing its release of vaccines and continuing to focus on increasing access, outreach and education to protect more people.
Youth Sports Expanded In COVID-19 Restriction Rollback
Under the latest rollbacks of COVID-19 regulations following promising trendlines in the state’s response, competitive cheerleading and dance programs are now allowed to go on with precautions in mind. Additionally, youth athletic events are now allowed to see spectators increase to 25 percent capacity or 200 people and interstate athletic competitions will again be allowed beginning March 1.
For additional updates on COVID-19 and other new developments regarding towns in our area, you can visit my Facebook page.