Broadband deployment is unquestionably needed and is vital to the regional economy. The current shortage has posed monumental challenges for economic growth, particularly for small businesses – the core of the New Hampshire economy, with about half of employers in the state having four or fewer employees. The shortage of high-speed, affordable broadband services in the Monadnock Region is serious and is identified as a necessary priority in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Southwest New Hampshire, approved by the US Economic Development Administration.
The unique population density and distribution characteristics of towns in the Monadnock Region do not meet the minimum requirements of broadband provider business models. The region does not have a wireline backbone infrastructure, and providers’ potential revenue does not justify the expense to build the last mile required to make broadband readily and widely available throughout the region, despite the fact that a universal demand for broadband service is painfully present. For areas that already have access to this critical infrastructure, the ability to add capacity is something that should be considered now for the future. In addition, the mountainous, forested landscape further complicates the business case for broadband delivery.
No one technology is best suited to solve the region’s broadband shortage. A diverse, multifaceted approach using a combination of fiber and wireless technologies will be required to equip the region to participate in the global economy, particularly in light of the region's geographic challenges.
All efforts necessary to achieve the objectives of the Monadnock Region Broadband Plan should be pursued.