Broadband fiber

STODDARD — Just over 400 Stoddard properties are set to be connected to high-speed broadband courtesy of the state’s Connecting NH Emergency Broadband Expansion Program.

On Thursday, Gov. Chris Sununu announced that Stoddard was among the first communities to benefit from the program, with $6.5 million to be spent connecting 3,189 properties in eight towns.

According to Jared Chicoine, director of the state’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, $477,000 in CARES Act money will be directed to Stoddard to benefit 415 properties. 

The following streets will be included in the program: Cove Woods Road, Dutton Farm Road, East Road, Granite Lake Road, North Shore Road, Route 9, Wendy Road, Anderson Road, Birch Point Lane, Bridge Hill Road, Brook Drive, Carr Avenue, Congdon Cove, Eva Lane, Fernwood Road, Fox Run Road, Kennedy Brook Drive, Kings Highway, Lake View, Murdough Road, Olde Colony Way, Penny Lane, Pine Top Road, Pond Point Road, Route 123, Shedd Hill Road, Spruce Cove Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, Stacey Road, Stoddard Beach Road, Stoddard Point Way, Stone Road, Valley Road, Whitney Road and Zinns Road. 

In June, Sununu announced that a total of $50 million in CARES Act money would be allocated to vendors to help connect properties that have been unable to get online or that struggle to get a reliable connection. On Thursday, he said the state expects to spend at least $16.1 million of that, which will be used to connect 5,574 properties. He said the state aimed high with the $50 million appropriation, adding that officials were unsure of how many applications to expect.

Eligible projects were those that could be completed by the Dec. 31 deadline imposed by the federal government, Sununu said.

School and business closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced students and many workers to adapt to remote learning and working environments, which has highlighted gaps in Internet availability. Telemedicine has also been a primary concern, as patients look for ways to follow social-distancing protocols while also staying in touch with their physicians.

Sununu said a second round of funding recipients will be announced as early as this week. He said there are $9.6 million worth of pending contracts, which would serve some 2,385 properties.

In Keene, Spectrum is seeking a $189,750 grant to help connect 76 homes on Hurricane, Daniels Hill, Langley and Chesterfield roads. These streets are all on the western side of the city, with the latter three in Keene’s southwestern corner.

This story has been changed to reflect updated information about the number of Stoddard properties that will be included in the program and what streets those properties are on. 

Stoddard to benefit from state broadband-expansion funds

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter

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