Rural broadband access to increase under infrastructure bill – WMUR Manchester

rural-broadband-access-to-increase-under-infrastructure-bill-–-wmur-manchester

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The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed Friday night in the Senate after months in Congress.The legislation includes $10 billion dollars that will provide funding to help clean up contaminated areas from PFAS and other chemicals, passenger and freight rail systems, which could help link New Hampshire to Boston's commuter rail system.The bill also funds technological infrastructure like rural broadband access. Rep. Annie Kuster said it is a historic day for the country, and New Hampshire will see the benefits almost immediately. "I am very excited about the idea of bringing $100 million to New Hampshire to make sure that every household is connected to the internet and has good broadband service that is affordable and accessible," Kuster said. Parts of New Hampshire have struggled with high-speed internet service for years. Bristol town manager Nick Coates said the legislation could not have come at a better time."Our goal is to have that high-speed broadband in every single residence and business in Bristol," Coates said. "We are expecting to be able to build this system so every single resident can access it."Dr. Julie Dolan is doing similar work in Sandwich by helping create a broadband advisory committee. Less than 10% of Sandwich residents have reliable internet access, and she is excited to see that number grow."Broadband is going to be brought to so many rural communities by electric cooperatives," Dolan.Kuster said that was in her mind as she worked on this plan."It reminds me of the rural electrification program way back in our grandparents day when electricity spread all across the country to every single household," Kuster said.Rep. Pappas called this development a 21st century priority."When you think about the way we use the internet for healthcare and education and government services, it is a necessity," Pappas said. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan also emphasizing the importance of broadband connection.Senator Hassan says, "the cyber security aspect is also really important. We know cyber attacks are the new frontier in warfare, and we know that in order for our entire state and country to be secure every connection to an internet provider has to be secure."Senator Shaheen told WMUR, "we have seen so clearly through the last year and a half with COVID that not having access to the internet creates a huge challenge for families --for kids who were not able to go to school remotely, for people who were working remotely, we need to make sure that every family can connect to the internet."The bill now awaits President Biden's signature. He is expected to sign the legislation next week and the state may see the money in a couple of months.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed Friday night in the Senate after months in Congress.

The legislation includes $10 billion dollars that will provide funding to help clean up contaminated areas from PFAS and other chemicals, passenger and freight rail systems, which could help link New Hampshire to Boston's commuter rail system.

The bill also funds technological infrastructure like rural broadband access.

Rep. Annie Kuster said it is a historic day for the country, and New Hampshire will see the benefits almost immediately.

"I am very excited about the idea of bringing $100 million to New Hampshire to make sure that every household is connected to the internet and has good broadband service that is affordable and accessible," Kuster said.

Parts of New Hampshire have struggled with high-speed internet service for years. Bristol town manager Nick Coates said the legislation could not have come at a better time.

"Our goal is to have that high-speed broadband in every single residence and business in Bristol," Coates said. "We are expecting to be able to build this system so every single resident can access it."

Dr. Julie Dolan is doing similar work in Sandwich by helping create a broadband advisory committee. Less than 10% of Sandwich residents have reliable internet access, and she is excited to see that number grow.

"Broadband is going to be brought to so many rural communities by electric cooperatives," Dolan.

Kuster said that was in her mind as she worked on this plan.

"It reminds me of the rural electrification program way back in our grandparents day when electricity spread all across the country to every single household," Kuster said.

Rep. Pappas called this development a 21st century priority.

"When you think about the way we use the internet for healthcare and education and government services, it is a necessity," Pappas said.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan also emphasizing the importance of broadband connection.

Senator Hassan says, "the cyber security aspect is also really important. We know cyber attacks are the new frontier in warfare, and we know that in order for our entire state and country to be secure every connection to an internet provider has to be secure."

Senator Shaheen told WMUR, "we have seen so clearly through the last year and a half with COVID that not having access to the internet creates a huge challenge for families --for kids who were not able to go to school remotely, for people who were working remotely, we need to make sure that every family can connect to the internet."

The bill now awaits President Biden's signature. He is expected to sign the legislation next week and the state may see the money in a couple of months.

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