NH law could hasten local broadband buildout

Published: Feb. 20, 2020 at 5:47 PM EST
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The push to expand access to high speed internet across New Hampshire could gain traction with a new state law that encourages local municipalities to build their own networks. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, met with leaders in the Monadnock region Thursday to get an update.

The state law allows cities and towns to issue municipal bonds for broadband construction. Some towns, like Bristol and Chesterfield are already moving ahead with their local broadband build-outs.

Hassan says that the federal government needs to do more to compliment the efforts being made locally. She says those in the more rural areas have the worst access to high speed internet, which puts them at a big disadvantage.

"Rural America is lagging when it comes to broadband access. There has been bipartisan support for closing that divide. We passed the DATA Act at the end of last year for instance. It sounds very basic but that is requiring the Federal Communication Commission to provide much more accurate maps to where there is broadband access and where there isn't," Hassan said.

She has also introduced two bipartisan bills with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, to give municipalities more tools, like tax credits, to spur investment in rural broadband projects.