New Hampshire has completed a $63 million project to provide critical broadband delivery infrastructure.
Fiber Installation image courtesy of Network NH Now
Funded by $44 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration plus private funds and donations, the Network New Hampshire Now project blends a high-capacity optical fiber network with modernized microwave communications facilities to create an extremely robust communications infrastructure that makes the state a leader on the national broadband stage.
The centerpiece of the project is an 865-mile fiber network laced with sheaths of “dark fiber,” the hair-thin glass conduits that are capable of transferring digital data at extremely fast rates. Multiple providers have signed on to lease segments of the wholesale fiber capacity to provide a variety of broadband-powered services, including high-speed residential Internet access, educational and distance-learning tools, tele-health resources and more.
The list of applications and use cases that flow from the state’s new broadband capacity is rich and growing. But one in particular looms large. For residents in under-served areas of New Hampshire, the availability of these wholesale fiber connections provides the foundation for high-speed Internet connectivity that will help to close the “digital divide,” delivering residents access to new capabilities in communications, commerce, health, education and media that have not been available until now across numerous remote communities in the state.
For the University of New Hampshire, one of the five leased-access providers, the network opens up promising new possibilities for distributing vast collections of academic research with newfound efficiency that invites greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. Among potential applications are the collection and sharing of expansive data sets derived from environmental sensors – an example of the so-called “Internet of things” that is expected to revolutionize our understanding and stewardship of the physical environment.
The University System of New Hampshire also will benefit from vastly improved continuity and disaster recovery capabilities that provide critical data redundancy by connecting the UNH main campus to other state campuses over a high-speed network that assures access to data in the event of a serious disruption. Additionally, the fiber network enables UNH to deliver a unified set of real-time data services across all of its campus facilities and environments, eliminating siloed resources that require duplicative investments and prevent efficient sharing of resources.
The Network New Hampshire Now initiative also enables important infrastructure improvements that are critical to public welfare and safety. The microwave component of the network, branded “NHSafeNet,” provides extremely reliable, high-speed connectivity for partners including the Department of Safety, New Hampshire Public Television, New Hampshire Department of Transportation, New Hampshire Division of Resources and Economic Development and the New Hampshire National Guard.