Reaching Rural NH with Technology

In 2010, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Granite State Distance Learning Network (GSDLN) applied for and received a Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant to increase the availability of mental health care and public health education for rural New Hampshire residents. Since then, GSDLN has continued to expand its reach and is now ConnectNH. This public/private partnership of nearly 50 New Hampshire organizations is dedicated to developing and implementing an affordable, interactive video conferencing network that ultimately will make interactive video networking and high-speed Internet access available in every New Hampshire community. Our goal is that when fully implemented, everyone in New Hampshire will have access to a broad range of educational and telemedical opportunities from around NH and the world without the need to travel more than 30 minutes from where they live or work. Literally translated, this means that K-12 schools, post-secondary institutions, libraries, other local / state / regional public entities, hospitals and businesses will have access to affordable, advanced telecommunications resources for distance learning and telehealth. In 2013 ConnectNH RUS-DLT project has three areas of focus:

  1. Increasing access to and improving the quality of health care and mental health care for rural residents in Laconia, Conway, Bristol, Plymouth, and Lincoln through telehealth programs. Additionally, interactive video conferencing will increase access to continuing education for health care professionals.
  2. Providing fire and EMS training for residents of rural New Hampshire in their local area by providing distance education facilities in strategic areas of the state. The state's primary fire training facility will begin offering courses at three centers located in Bethlehem, Milford, and Gorham.
  3. Improving public services for residents in Lincoln, New Hampshire by creating virtual links with content providers and specialized services throughout the state and nation. Distance education and telehealth programs will become available through this project.