Infrastructure to Broaden Economic Advancement and Mindshare in New Hampshire

New Hampshire lacks adequate access to broadband services, and to address our state’s need, New Hampshire proposes the creation of an infrastructure that collaboratively addresses the need for middle and last mile service, and instills sustainable practices to address a changing technology landscape. We accomplish this goal through a project called I-BEAM-NH, which addresses a number of compelling problems. Of the 25 action items outlined in the New Hampshire Broadband Action Plan of 2008, this project seeks to address 12 of the most critical barriers to the deployment of broadband throughout New Hampshire. At the heart of the proposal is the development of broadband efforts that will serve to nearly eradicate those areas of our state that are classified as un-served and under-served. In addition, 21 hospitals and health care institutions, 22 State Police, County Sheriff and Public Safety Access Points (PSAP) locations, 234 community and state libraries, 9 higher education campuses, 5 public television transmitter and broadcast sites and 17 mountain top tower facilities either will be connected or will have future potential to be connected into a state infrastructure that supports education, health care, public safety and increase services to the people of the state.

New Hampshire proposes the construction of a fiber optic ring network to connect major community anchor institutions in the state and link together a number of communities in the west, southwest, and north that have limited or no means of terrestrial broadband access. In addition to the fiber network, a microwave wireless network will upgrade and replace aged equipment for state agencies such as the New Hampshire State Police (NHSP), New Hampshire Army National Guard (NHARNG), New Hampshire Public Television (NHPTV), New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (NH-DRED) and will offer redundant network connectivity through a partnership with FairPoint Communications to maintain critical public safety communications, especially in light of infrastructure-debilitating natural disasters that have embattled New Hampshire over the last several years.

The overall infrastructure of the proposed broadband system project is expected to allow over 50,000 subscribers in New Hampshire upgrade or gain access to affordable broadband services. According to previous research conducted by the Telecommunications Advisory Board, New Hampshire has a 90% rate of households with Internet access, with that access made through places of employment, public libraries or through dial-up services that do not qualify as broadband. With an increase in broadband availability, we believe that New Hampshire residents and businesses will connect to these services and transform the kind of business climate that New Hampshire currently enjoys by increasing our high tech-enabled workforce and business offerings. For example, the manufacturing sector increasingly requires broadband service in order to meet planning and specifications for government contracts. Directly related to this project proposal, we estimate 28 jobs will be directly created or saved, and an indirect impact will be felt by 375 jobs that will benefit through commercial partners.

We believe that the I-BEAM-NH project will revolutionize New Hampshire’s access to broadband technology. The benefits of such a positive change will be able to be felt throughout the state, across every sector. We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from government officials, citizens, non-profits, and businesses from around the state. Such words of encouragement reinforce our belief that we have found the necessary balance of resources and opportunity to give New Hampshire citizens and other entities the opportunity to utilize broadband technology today and for the future.