$196 million federal broadband award a ‘game-changer’ for NH’s connectivity efforts

Bipartisan infrastructure law funding is a big shot in the arm for state’s expansion plans
Rural Broadband1200

New Hampshire is set to receive nearly $200 million in federal funding to expand broadband access around the state — an amount that will help the state achieve its long-held goal of giving all households and businesses the ability to connect to reliable internet service.

The new allotment of $196.5 million was announced Monday by the four members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, who in a press release hailed the award as a big step in achieving the “the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable and reliable high-speed internet service” in the state.

The money was awarded through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which was created as a result of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the so-called bipartisan infrastructure law.

The funding was awarded to states based on the Federal Communications Commission’s updated internet connectivity maps. According to the delegations’ press release, preliminary findings as a result of the update indicate that the number of broadband serviceable locations in New Hampshire increased by 10,815 from the last map, and the number of unserved locations increased by 2,273.

As a result, the revision means there is a 10 percent increase in the number of unserved locations in New Hampshire – a larger increase compared to most other states.

The “improved map” reflects a more accurate assessment of broadband service availability for homes and businesses in New Hampshire, according to the delegation, and it will help ensure New Hampshire receives the full level of federal funding needed to close the digital divide and provide all Granite Staters with access to affordable high-speed internet.”

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who led negotiations of broadband provisions the infrastructure act, said the award “will be a game-changer for communities in New Hampshire, especially in the more rural parts of our state. Getting people online and connected will impact their quality of life, affecting everything from access to healthcare appointments, business transactions, remote education programs and much more.

The state so far has spent nearly $100 million in other federal funds to aid the broadband buildout effort. The new award “will allow us to capitalize on our successes and drive this top priority forward,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, which is overseeing the program.

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