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Planning for Broadband in New Hampshire

April 30, 2013 at 3:44 PM

In an increasingly digital world, access to high-speed Internet is among the most significant factors that will determine the ability of communities to achieve economic growth and quality of life. A vibrant local and state economy requires broadband infrastructure to support economic development, energy efficiency, advances in health care, and improved educational opportunities. However, many remain without access to reliable or affordable broadband service. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce in February of 2011, almost one-third of American households still lack a broadband connection. Since 2010, the New Hampshire Broadband Mapping and Planning Program (NHBMPP) has been working to better understand the barriers to increased adoption and deployment of broadband infrastructure in the state.

The NHBMPP is an initiative that seeks to understand where broadband is currently available in NH, how it can be made more widely available in the future, and how to encourage increased levels of broadband adoption and usage. This five year program is managed by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and is a partnership of state, regional, and local organizations. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the NHBMPP is part of a national effort to expand broadband availability and adoption.

The NHBMPP is a comprehensive program composed of multiple components including: mapping, planning and training and technical assistance. The NHBMPP’s inventory and mapping effort is focused on collecting data on the availability and type of broadband service from internet service providers and community anchor institutions in the state. This information is being mapped and analyzed to identify areas of the state that are unserved or underserved. An interactive map displaying the information available to date from the mapping program is available at the NHBMPP website –

The data gathered from the mapping efforts will be included into the NHBMPP’s broadband planning activities, which involve the state’s nine regional planning commissions (RPCs). As part of this effort, the RPCs will develop broadband plans for each region that will be integrated into a statewide broadband document by the NH Office of Energy and Planning by the end of 2014.

Through the training and technical assistance component, UNH Cooperative Extension has been designing instructional tools to support increased broadband adoption and use. They are offering a variety of free trainings to small businesses and local municipalities to enhance their use of broadband. Current trainings are focused on tools to leverage broadband to promote economic development. Look for additional training topic in the near future.

More information about these and other program components is available at the NHBMPP website:

Tags: Regional Planning Community and Economic Vitality Broadband SWRPC
Category: Southwest RPC

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