New Hampshire law encourages public-private broadband partnerships in rural communities

A 2018 New Hampshire law that allows public-private broadband partnerships through bond offerings is spurring broadband deployment in rural New Hampshire.

Consolidated Communications, the incumbent local carrier, has won RFPs to build fiber networks in several NH rural communities. Bond funding pays for the network and Consolidated pays costs to connect the network from the pole to the home.  An end-user infrastructure fee offsets bond financing costs, eliminating the need to raise taxes or fund the bond through general revenue. The city owns and Consolidated operates the network until the bond is paid off. At that point, ownership transfers to Consolidated. 

“The conversation has completely changed,” said Rob Koester, Consolidated Vice President of Consumer Products. “Two years ago, [the question was] ‘What are you going to do to expand broadband?’ Today, the conversation is a complete 180. It’s ‘What can we do?’”

The New Hampshire law requires projects funded through municipal bonds to support speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.

Links:

Consolidated: Public-private broadband partnerships are key to rural broadband strategy (Telecompetitor, Nov. 7, 2019)