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N.H. Electric Cooperative members support adding broadband access to the utility's mission.
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Members of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative have voted by a wide margin to add rural broadband service to the utility’s mission.

The vote was 88 percent in favor of adding broadband to the Co-op’s bylaws, alongside electric service. An earlier campaign to do this fell just short of passing.

NH Electric Coop Facebook

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative will propose amendments to the organization’s bylaws that would enable the organization to pursue broadband projects. 

In an announcement on Thursday, the co-op said it’s already started to look at ways it can expand broadband internet for its members, but it was clear that the current bylaws weren’t flexible enough to take advantage of government funding for broadband expansion.

Earlier this year, co-op members narrowly missed passing a proposal that would have added facilitating broadband access as a focus of the organization.

Estas son las noticias de hoy, viernes 7 de agosto. Se pueden leer en nuestro guion de grabaciones a continuación --incluye anotaciones  diferentes-- o escucharlas en el siguiente audio.

Nuevos centros  de pruebas de COVID-19 en hospitales locales de New Hampshire

At a press conference Thursday, Governor Chris Sununu announced that $16 million of federal CARES Act money will go towards rural broadband projects throughout the state.

Sununu announced that the towns of Bristol, Danbury, Deering, Errol, Hillsborough, Mason, Springfield, Stoddard and Washington received nearly $6.5 million dollars to improve connectivity for about 3,000 properties.

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Many people in New Hampshire are used to slow internet, but with COVID-19, what was a challenge has become a crisis with more people needing to access their doctor's offices, classrooms and workplaces online. 

With new funds available from the state for broadband projects, there’s some hope that the Internet situation might finally improve for rural Granite Staters.


Julie Dolan knows the Internet in her hometown of Sandwich is bad. She had to hop on the phone with her doctor Thursday morning because the video connection for her telehealth appointment stopped working.

So, she says she was pleased when Gov. Chris Sununu announced in June that $50 million in federal funds would be available for broadband projects in New Hampshire.

As chairperson of Sandwich’s broadband committee, Dolan’s been working on bringing faster Internet to town for the past year.

NH Electric Coop Facebook

The New Hampshire Electric Co-op announced Thursday it’s forming a new entity that will focus on finding ways and funding to provide high speed Internet to its members.

This comes just a week after members voted on whether to include facilitating broadband access in the co-op’s by-laws. That measure narrowly failed to meet the two-thirds majority needed.

But, it did make clear to the co-op that broadband access was a priority for its members.  

Dave Webster via Flickr CC

Broadband was a central focus of the New Hampshire Electric Co-op’s annual meeting on Monday.

While a vote to include facilitating broadband access in the co-op's bylaws failed last week, many members still see it as a priority for the non-profit.

Co-op CEO Steve Camerino told members they're looking at available federal and state funds to expand broadband access. He says there are a few ways this could happen.

NHEC Facebook

The New Hampshire Electric Co-op will not add a focus on broadband to its official mission, but supporters of the effort say they expect the attention on rural connectivity will continue.

Members voting in the co-op election that ended this week fell just short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the proposal, which would have had the co-op agree to “facilitate access to broadband” alongside existing services.

NH Electric Coop Facebook

Members of the New Hampshire Electric Co-op will finish voting Tuesday on whether to add broadband service to their utility’s mission.

The push to bring better internet to rural towns has already drawn interest from developers, as coronavirus heightens the focus on connectivity.

Retired journalist Richard Knox of Center Sandwich has helped lead the campaign to get the 80,000-member co-op to agree to “facilitate access to broadband” as part of its by-laws.

Sandwich Residents Seek a Faster Lane on the Net

Aug 28, 2019
Sara Ernst / NHPR

Residents in the Squam Lake area are working to improve Internet service in Sandwich. The Sandwich Broadband Advisory Committee held a listening session Friday, in which attendees expressed frustration with what they say is slow and unreliable service in town. 

Richard Knox, one of the committee members, says Sandwich’s low population is one of the main reasons why Internet companies are reluctant to invest in broadband infrastructure. 

North Country: High-Speed Internet

Jul 19, 2019

This week on Word of Mouth, we're continuing our series on the North Country by answering a listener's question about access to high-speed internet. 

You can send us your questions about New Hampshire by emailing us or submitting a question online

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Rural towns in New Hampshire have long struggled to keep up with the demand for access to broadband in their communities.

Liisa Rajala is the associate editor for New Hampshire Business Review, and she's been reporting on how rural communities have had to take expanding broadband access into their own hands.

She spoke with NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley.

(Below is a transcript from the NHPR interview.)

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The Exchange discussed New Hampshire's infrastructure issues over a series of shows this year. The American Society of Civil Engineers released their 2017 report card in March, giving New Hampshire a C- overall, with further grades for specific categories, including roads, dams, and drinking water.

Read on for highlights and links to each show, and also for links to additional coverage of New Hampshire's infrastructure. 

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The term net neutrality has been popping up a lot in recent months, as the policy is reviewed in Washington.  But what does it mean for an Internet service provider to be neutral? We look at how two key aspects of this:  web speed, and the management of Internet traffic, impact our daily browsing, businesses, and privacy. 


Broadband Development in the Granite State

Mar 14, 2017
Tony Webster

Broadband, which connects homes, businesses, and schools to high speed internet, has been developing throughout the state, including in rural areas for several years. Which areas are still lacking access, and why? What is the importance of providing proper internet access to schools and places where businesses will develop? We'll delve into how broadband infrastructure works, and where it is working, in New Hampshire.


Missing In Action: Broadband In Coos County

Apr 4, 2016

About seven percent of New Hampshire’s residents don’t have access to broadband. But in Coos County that jumps to about 31 percent. That's the worst - by a narrow margin - in the state, according to a new study by the University of New Hampshire.

And much of Coos – which has about 33,000 residents – has no broadband access because the technology is typically offered in the southernmost and most populated part of the county.

Marcelo Graciolli/Flickr

For nearly as long as anyone can remember, there’s been talk about expanding broadband and cell coverage in the North Country. Last spring several small groups in the region announced plans to provide faster internet and better cell reception. Among others, Sen Jeanne Shaheen was there to applaud the announcement.