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Joyce Endee

CEDC modifies NBRC telecom grant to include more sites & service


March 25, 2015
REGION — The availability of "carrier neutral" 4G LTE voice and data service and high-capacity broadband is on the cusp of taking a quantum leap forward in northern Coös County.

Bob DeAngelis, executive director of the Coös Economic Development Corp. (CEDC), and its board of directors, plus Carol Miller, Director of Broadband Technology at DRED's Division of Economic Development (DED), have successfully worked with many partners to greatly increase the scope of the project that can be funded under the $240,000 Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant first announced in September 2014.

The Colebrook Development Corporation (CDC) stepped up to provide the needed $60,000 match in line with its strong advocacy of improving cell coverage in northern Coös, recognizing this project as an opportunity to make a real difference.

At that time, the NBRC grant was described as supporting the construction of one new $300,000 cell tower on Cummings Mountain in Dummer, designed to encourage business development and enhance emergency communications.

But creative thinking and hard work has led to a very significant modification of this grant to increase the number of telecommunication sites from one to four with work beginning next month. This new capability should be operational by this summer, without any tower having to be erected in Dummer.

There is potential for up to 10 more sites added later this year.

NBRC approved the project expansion early last month, DeAngelis explained, and last week approved CEDC's direct partners: Great North Woods Wireless and TCC Networks.

This all came about because those involved continued to do research in an effort to find an affordable way to bring today's "must-have" telecom services to the northern reaches of Coös County, even after the NBRC grant was awarded.

This resulted in the formation of the North Country Cell Service (NCCS) initiative — a public-private partnership that was begun by a group of collaborative stakeholders seeking to attract a cell carrier to deploy mobile service to northern Coös.

This collaboration, designed to bring the technology of today that's essential to supporting well-paying jobs and attracting tourists and new industry — 4G LTE voice and date cellular and gigabit broadband — includes representatives from a number of entities: University of New Hampshire; CDC; Wireless Partners doing business as (d.b.a.) Great North Woods Wireless; TCC Networks; 186 Communications; Ericsson; Green Mountain Communications; DED-DRED; Northern Pass, and, of course, both the CEDC and NBRC.

The project is designed in two phases, both likely be completed by the end of this year.

Phase 1 will provide service in Groveton that will serve Dummer, Milan, Stark, Errol, Dixville, Clarksville, Stewartstown and Pittsburg.

Phase 2 has the potential to extend coverage to up to 10 additional sites throughout Coös County.

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