Kathryn Carley, Producer
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
An infusion of federal aid is expected to greatly expand access to broadband, or high speed internet service, across rural New Hampshire.
Nearly $200 million in federal aid from the bipartisan infrastructure law along with additional funds from the American Rescue Plan will connect hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
Sarah Davis, vice president of government affairs for Consolidated Communications, which connects homes with broadband throughout the Northeast, called the funding a game-changer for communities.
“It allows people to age in place, to really access telemedicine,” Davis outlined. “It allows students to get an education from anywhere with online classes and online learning.”
Davis pointed out Consolidated alone expects to connect more than 30,000 homes with its Fidium fiber service with construction set to begin later this year. They also plan to make the service affordable, she noted, with monthly rates from thirty-five to seventy-dollars.
Federal aid for broadband expansion was allocated based on the FCC’s National Broadband Map. It is estimated close to 70,000 homes in New Hampshire are underserved or have no high speed internet connection.
Davis emphasized broadband will allow people to live where they want, rather than live where they work.
“Really the challenge is that there are areas that are just incredibly remote and take many, many miles of fiber infrastructure to get to a very few number of homes,” Davis explained.
The Biden administration is allocating more than $40 billion to expand reliable broadband service as part of its “Internet for All” initiative. The goal is to connect every American to high speed internet by 2030.