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January 22, 2014

Government-funded Project Brings Broadband to New Hampshire



By Chandra Johnson-Greene
TMCnet Contributing Writer



A project to bring a fiber optic network to New Hampshire is finally complete. Network New Hampshire Now, which is comprised of 865 miles of fiber optic cable, brings a 20-gigabyte connection to towns in need of it, including Enfield and Lebanon, thanks to federal stimulus money. According to The Telegraph, the network was built by Waveguide but will be managed by New Hampshire Optical Systems.

The project received $44 million in stimulus funds and $21 million in state funds and there are already talks to expand the network to metro Boston and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Network New Hampshire Now is described as a “middle mile” project, but a few select towns like Enfield and Rindge were chosen to get fiber connected right up to residential homes via New Hampshire FastRoads.

Scott Valcourt, director of strategic technology at the University of New Hampshire, oversaw the project. “This grant started on July 1, 2010, and concluded on Dec. 31, 2013, and its purpose was to construct and put out into the field these broadband assets,” he told NewHampshire.com. “Done. The question now is ’what do we do next.’”

Valcourt said that the Broadband Center of Excellence is the key to what’s next because “is it interested in looking at and examining from an academic, business and community perspective all these new technologies that have a relationship to broadband.” The center’s plans include a TV white space pilot program for homes that still have no access to broadband service.

According to The Telegraph, Network New Hampshire Now hasn’t gained any fans from the cable company arena, which are anticipating the loss of customers, and thus, view the project as government-subsidized competition. Both legal and regulatory disputes over which network gets to use which part of the utility pole to string their lines also exist.




Edited by Alisen Downey
 
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