Internet service providers oppose NH broadband expansion

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Certain internet service providers are claiming there is no need to expand broadband service in Grafton County towns because they already provide high-speed internet to the area, according to the Bristol town administrator. Grafton County applied for a federal grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Their plan is to build out a middle-mile broadband network from Bristol to all 39 towns, including the city of Lebanon.Bristol town administration Nik Coates said some of the current providers have challenged more than 3,000 of the 4,000 census blocks that would be part of the project, claiming they already provide service to those areas.Coates said the data collection process is flawed because if one household in that block has acceptable internet speed, the entire block is considered serviced.He said providers are using state and federal law to create an unfair competitive advantage for themselves.“We have a problem and this funding is meant to help solve that problem and if the rules continue to be the way they are and the telecoms have the ability to continue to challenge projects and to stop projects, the problem is not going to be solved,” Coates said. Gov. Chris Sununu said he’s not aware of any specific issues, but when funds from the infrastructure bill become available, a mapping process required by the government should pinpoint some of those issues.

Certain internet service providers are claiming there is no need to expand broadband service in Grafton County towns because they already provide high-speed internet to the area, according to the Bristol town administrator.

Grafton County applied for a federal grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Their plan is to build out a middle-mile broadband network from Bristol to all 39 towns, including the city of Lebanon.

Bristol town administration Nik Coates said some of the current providers have challenged more than 3,000 of the 4,000 census blocks that would be part of the project, claiming they already provide service to those areas.

Coates said the data collection process is flawed because if one household in that block has acceptable internet speed, the entire block is considered serviced.

He said providers are using state and federal law to create an unfair competitive advantage for themselves.

“We have a problem and this funding is meant to help solve that problem and if the rules continue to be the way they are and the telecoms have the ability to continue to challenge projects and to stop projects, the problem is not going to be solved,” Coates said.

Gov. Chris Sununu said he’s not aware of any specific issues, but when funds from the infrastructure bill become available, a mapping process required by the government should pinpoint some of those issues.

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