Northern Pass and broadband

To the editor:
On April 20, Public Service of New Hampshire announced that The Northern Pass transmission project was exploring whether it could help in the effort to provide broadband service to currently underserved areas of the state, including the North Country. Here’s a brief overview of the role we see The Northern Pass playing.First, PSNH currently installs fiber-optic cable along its transmission routes to manage its own telecommunications infrastructure. This communications network allows PSNH to control and monitor its transmission network to maintain the quality and reliability of its electrical power system. Fiber-optic cable exists now on many of our transmission routes, and will be installed on any future routes, such as The Northern Pass. Existing and planned fiber-optic cables have unused capacity, and it is this excess capacity that would be part of any broadband initiative by the company.Second, because fiber-optic cable is already planned for The Northern Pass transmission project, there is no additional cost to providing the broadband “backbone” along the transmission route. Our team studying the expansion of broadband services in the North Country is specifically working to identify potential telecom partners that would provide broadband service to end users.Such a partnership would leverage the unused capacity on The Northern Pass fiber-optic infrastructure and provide a cost-effective option for telecom providers to deliver broadband to rural areas, where it otherwise would be cost-prohibitive. Broadband consumers would not pay forThe Northern Pass fiber-optic network. These potential partners would benefit from the ability to utilize the existing and planned PSNH fiber network for backbone transmission, thus mitigating some of the provider’s cost and reducing the cost of broadband expansion in underserved areas.In addition, the existence of additional fiber-optic routes in rural areas can provide redundant network routes and capacity needed to attract telecom-dependent businesses that otherwise would reject the opportunity to locate in the North Country and other rural areas.PSNH’s goal is to be part of a broadband solution that spurs economic growth and job creation and provides modern telecommunications services to rural areas. The addition of greater broadband capacity through The Northern Pass electric transmission project would be a great benefit to the region and could change the future of economic development in the North Country.

Martin Murray
PSNH/The Northern Pass

Categories: Cook on Concord