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Nashua board OK's pact with FairPoint to avoid city website slowdowns

Union Leader Correspondent

January 04. 2013 10:44PM

NASHUA - In an effort to better serve the community and city employees, officials this week approved a new Internet contract that is expected to speed up the city's website.

"The city has outgrown its current bandwidth level, which has caused problems such as difficulty navigating the city website, sending and receiving large emails and the slowing down of other web-related business activities," Mayor Donnalee Lozeau wrote in a memo.

On Wednesday, Lozeau introduced a proposed $57,348 contract with FairPoint Communications of Portland, Maine, to the aldermanic Finance Committee.

The new contract, according to Lozeau, would increase the city's bandwidth from 1.5 megabits per second to 50 Mbps. Lozeau, chairman of the Finance Committee, told the board that her home computer is faster than the city's existing level of dedicated Internet access bandwidth.

According to the mayor, data and information is continuously being added to the city's website - more now than in the past. Maps, meeting minutes and other documents are frequently being posted to the site, she said.

While there is a greater influx of content being placed on the city's website, there is also an increasing number of residents and staff attempting to open various pages on the site. Individuals may have to wait up to 20 minutes to download a map, said Lozeau, explaining that is not helpful to employees or the public. Alderman-at-Large David Deane agreed, saying it can take a significant amount of time for certain files to download. He questioned whether the files are being compressed prior to their posting to the site.

Arthur Craffey, Ward 4 alderman, said he was concerned about the recommended upgrade to 50 Mbps, questioning whether 100 Mbps should be considered.

The committee approved the new contract with FairPoint; however, it will still need to be adopted by the full Board of Aldermen before implementation. Lozeau expects it will take about three weeks to get the new bandwidth capabilities online and operational. The new agreement with FairPoint has been reduced from a three-year contract to a one-year contract, with an automatic renewal for two, one-year terms.

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