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Carroll County Broadband requests federal funding

June 27, 2020
REGION — The federal government has transferred $625 million in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds to New Hampshire. That is the first half of a $1.25 billion package.

Carroll County Broadband (CCB) has requested consideration from Governor Sununu and Sen. Jeb Bradley for $11,043,964 of the $50 million designated for broadband, to be used to begin work on bringing High Speed Symmetrical Fiber Optic Internet (minimum 100/110 mbps) to all homes, businesses and public buildings in the nineteen towns of Carroll County.

That estimate follows work with ValleyNet, Inc., the design/engineering project manager and Internet Service Provider for East Central Vermont Telecommunications District and is the amount needed to position Carroll County Broadband for actual construction to possibly begin in 2021. The sum would cover the County/District start up, management, contingency buffer, consulting and legal fees, insurance, pole attachment agreements, pole collection, pole applications and make ready work, and comprehensive network design and engineering.

Approval of the request would enable CCB to work to raise additional funds from other grants, low-interest loans, investors or future revenue bonds.

CCB Cochairmen Rick Hiland and Steve Knox stressed the urgency of providing the high speed access to rural Carroll County, especially in light of the needs demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic for online learning, telemedicine, the increased numbers of people working from home, and access to government programs and services.

Selectman Paul O'Brien, Wolfeboro's representative to CCB, stated at the Board of Selectmen's June 17 meeting that the town requested an estimate from Atlantic Broadband (AB) of the costs to build out the unserved areas of town identified as Brown's Ridge, Cowper, Chick, Bickford, Stoddard, Stoneham, Warren Sands and North Wakefield roads. AB responded with an estimate ranging from $400,000 to $600,000. O'Brien said the town has detailed estimated costs in hand, but the actual costs will need to be refined.

He added that the grant criteria have not yet been finalized, but Wolfeboro is ready to apply if it meets the criteria.

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