Proposed law, Senate Bill 2811 would establish “communication districts” in New Hampshire in an effort to facilitate broadband access. The bill is being sponsored by Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D-Peterborough), reports GraniteGeek.
“It’s very similar to a sewer district,” explained Dietsch.
“It can be financed by grants, loans, bonds and user fees, but not taxation. The idea is to build out a certain level, then revenues from that will help you build the next level.” The districts would not be limited to town borders and the thought is that interested communities would be able to work together to build their own broadband networks. Dietsch added that New Hampshire has not yielded to FCC authority and is working towards creative solutions for connectivity.
One option that has been floated is the extension of LymeFiber services to New Hampshire. Originating in Connecticut, LymeFiber aims to bring internet services via fiber-optic cables. The expansion of availability is scheduled for 2020. “100 percent [connectivity] is our goal,” said Stephen Campbell, a member of the Committee for Fiber Optics in Lyme, CT. “It’s going to be real close to that; the only qualification is, there are places where your utilities come from the adjoining town. It’s possible we may not be able to serve them. And there are a few who are completely off-grid.”
Other towns have found ways to work with existing phone companies and telecoms to import broadband access to their communities. Chesterfield, for example, coordinated with Consolidated Communications to string fiber optic lines to its 3,500 residents. A bond will pay for the outreach. “I think the fact that they succeeded is an incentive for others to go out and try. Before, the feeling was ‘I don’t even know how to start,’” said Dietsch. “I think people are being more aggressive about it, are willing to go out and champion something.”
November 12, 2019