Sununu announces broadband access projects

Gov. Chris Sununu announces more than 5,500 properties in the state will get access to high-speed broadband service. The state will only be able to spend $16 million of a $50 million program because those are the only projects that can be completed by the end of 2020.

CONCORD — State officials announced plans Thursday to hook up more than 5,500 properties to high-speed broadband internet service.

“This is about the last mile, the actual hookup to the property for that broadband access that everyone should have,” Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

“About 10 years ago, the state created this big, broadband loop across the state. There are a lot of folks living in towns with that high-speed service, but it’s a mile from their home so they never get it. The hardest part is these final connections.”

But Sununu said these state contracts will spend a total of $16 million, or less than half the $50 million program he announced a few months ago.

That’s because municipal leaders and private businesses owners have told the state these are the only projects that could completed by the end of 2020, the deadline for spending these federal dollars under the CARES Act.

“I think we could do tens of thousands more if we had more time,” Sununu said. “We are one of the few states even attempting this.”

On Thursday, Sununu said he completed contracts totaling $6.5 million to extend this service to 3,189 properties in nine towns: Bristol, Danbury, Deering, Errol, Hillsborough, Mason, Springfield, Stoddard and Washington.

Negotiations are expected to be finalized soon to spend another $9.6 million that will extend service to another 2,385 properties.

The locations for all those extensions will be spelled out once negotiations are completed with the communities and high-speed service vendors, Sununu said.

The cost for all these projects averages $3,000 per connection.

“We are able to do this quickly and do this cost effectively,” Sununu said, adding that high-speed access to homes increases property values.