Wilton contemplates broadband

  • Wilton Select Board member Dan Donovan listens to a presentation by Jennifer DiNovo, a regional planner with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, as she outlines some of the benefits of high-speed internet t the board during their Monday meeting.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Wilton Select Board member Dan Donovan listens to a presentation by Jennifer DiNovo, a regional planner with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, as she outlines some of the benefits of high-speed internet t the board during their Monday meeting.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Wilton Select Board member Dan Donovan listens to a presentation by Jennifer DiNovo, a regional planner with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, as she outlines some of the benefits of high-speed internet t the board during their Monday meeting.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Wilton Select Board members contemplate investing in the town's broadband services.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

WILTON — Most of the town of Wilton relies on cable Internet, but it may not stay that way. A representative of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission outlined the possibilities for bringing faster broadband to town for the Select Board at its meeting Monday .

The board was contacted by the commission as part of its mission to reach out to towns concerning opportunities for spreading access to high-speed Internet.

Broadband is always faster than dial-up access, NRPC Regional Planner Jennifer DiNovo told the board, but not all Broadband is created equal. There are three main types: wired, which uses telephone lines or cable access; wireless, which uses satellite or a fixed access point; and mobile wireless, which uses cellular carriers.

The majority of Wilton residents and businesses use wired connections, as fixed and mobile options are few. DiNovo told the board much of the state is moving toward increasing 3G and 4G mobile coverage.

DiNovo said there are economic benefits to investing in faster Internet. For every $1 invested in broadband, the local economy benefits by nearly $3. And increasing broadband penetration in the state increases employment. The reason, she said, is having access to high-speed Internet attracts businesses, such as manufacturing, financial services, health and education, and makes it easier for residents to have home-based businesses.

“Broadband is a very integral part of improving economic development and quality of life for residents,” DiNovo told the board.

About 73 percent of New Hampshire is currently covered by broadband, and FairPoint Communications has committed to 95 percent coverage in New Hampshire by next year, said DiNovo. FairPoint recently expanded its broadband coverage to an additional 960 homes in Dublin, Peterborough and Greenfield. The company has invested more than $190 million since April 2008 in its communications infrastructure and technology to bring broadband to northern New England, including building thousands of miles of new fiber across the region, according to a press release issued by FairPoint earlier this month.

There is work ahead for the town if residents want more widespread high-speed Internet options, said DiNovo. She encouraged the Select Board to look at the towns regulations and update them, if need be, in order to encourage flexibility in the town’s zoning ordinance that would allow construction of instruments like cell towers to improve mobile wireless functions . She also suggested creating or updating a telecommunications section in the town’s Master Plan.

Residents can also take a broadband speed test, developed by the N.H. Broadband Mapping and Planning Program, by logging on to www.iwantbroadbandnh.org. The more accurate a representation of the town’s current coverage and its needs for higher-speed broadband the program — which is managed by the University of New Hampshire — can gather, the easier it will be to apply for grants and other funding sources for broadband expansion, DiNovo told the board.

Select Board Chair Steve McDonough said it would be easy enough to give residents access to the broadband mapping survey , and suggested putting a link to it on the town’s website alongside a link to the town’s survey to residents concerning Master Plan updates.

The Select Board meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall. They will meet next on Dec. 31 at 2 p.m., due to the New Year’s Eve holiday.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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