New Hampshire is set to receive about $3 million in federal funding to jumpstart economic development and infrastructure projects.
This week the state's congressional delegation announced that the Northern Border Regional Commission grants have been awarded for 2018.
The money will go toward—among other projects—the expansion of an industrial park in Littleton, a food store that supports local farms in Lancaster, and to help bring a 3-mile fiber optic network to the town of Bristol.
"We have Newfound Lake here in Bristol and it's a great economic driver. But we're really struggling to sort of take that next step as a community," said Nicholas Coates, Bristol’s Town Administrator.
Coates says cell phone companies are looking for increased Internet infrastructure on the ground in order to expand coverage. "New businesses that want to come here or people that maybe want to start a business, they really struggle with the fact that there's a lack of cell coverage here," he said.
The goal is to eventually have a municipal-owned network that residents, businesses and government offices can access.
“The Northern Border Regional Commission has been an essential player in spurring growth and opportunity in rural communities throughout the Granite State,” Congresswoman Annie Kuster said in a statement. “These grants will bolster educational and workforce training, recreational programming, healthcare services, and our affordable housing stock, all of which are vital to the economic development of our state.”
The Trump administration had previously supported cutting funding for the NBRC but the commission received $15 million for fiscal year 2018. That money will go toward projects in Maine, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Last year, the Commission awarded about $3 million to a total of 13 projects in New Hampshire.