Broadband & Telecommunications:
Making the Connection
In today's word, business growth is increasingly built on the fusion of the physical and the digital. Broadband is important to economic development, as well as to telemedicine, education, and all forms of communication from email to teleconferencing and social media. The development of a national broadband access system has been compared to the creation of the interstate highway system in the mid-twentieth century.
In New Hampshire, there is an ongoing, comprehensive and unified effort to bring affordable broadband access to every corner of the state.
- Major population centers already have a plethora of providers offering broadband service at very competitive rates. Companies like FairPoint, Bayring, G4 Communications, Segtel, Comcast, Time-Warner Cable, and Metrocast offer bundled services that support voice, data and video.
- Remote access to broadband is improving because of the efforts of companies like US Cellular, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who are ramping up to 4G service. Small wireless providers like WiValley, RadiusNorth, NCIA, and NCIC have carved out niche markets to push broadband out to areas that are less populated.
- Still, while most rural communities have at least one broadband provider, there are pockets in some very remote rural areas that are underserved, with little or no broadband at all.
The Plan & The Mission
Since 2000, with the Department of Resources and Economic Development and the Division of Economic Development providing leadership and shaping policy for in-state telecommunications and broadband, the State of New Hampshire has worked aggressively through its Telecommunications Advisory Board and key partners to increase deployment of broadband services throughout the state. The resulting State of NH Broadband Action Plan was published on June 30, 2008 by Berry, Dunn, McNeil, and Parker.
The position of Director of Broadband Technology was created by SB159 introduced and sponsored by Senator Deborah Reynolds and signed into law by Governor John Lynch on July 14, 2009. In late 2009, Carol Miller was hired and charged with coordinating the planning and development of a comprehensive broadband plan for the state.
The State's broadband mission it to
- expand the availability of affordable broadband Internet access for all people, businesses and community organizations.
- promote the use of broadband to improve the quality and availability of health care, education and government services.
- work collaboratively with partners to develop an ongoing census of the broadband network infrastructure and related services to unserved and underserved areas of our state.
- foster statewide collaborative efforts in which ideas, experiences and resources can be shared in order to develop new ways of harnessing the Internet for the public good.
These focused efforts have helped to attract millions in grant funding and matches to improve access, while public/private partnerships have been developed, using State assets to enhance private investment.
Along with private investments, New Hampshire has benefited from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal stimulus money, made available through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service. Awards have been made to organizations that are working to bring better broadband to all ten counties of New Hampshire to be completed by 2013.
The State of New Hampshire continues to work on securing funds to enhance and expand broadband all over the state. Communities and the state and federal governments all play important roles in the development of broadband projects, as do public and private partnerships with providers, which are a key component in future successes.
For more information about broadband availability and initiatives, contact Carol Miller, Director of Broadband Technologies at 603-271-2341 X138 or 603-731-2608 (cell) or email Carol Miller.