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Workers are in the streets of Rindge, connecting high-speed Internet fibers

Engineering crews from Waveguide of Chelmsford, Mass., and Nashua have been in Rindge over the past couple of weeks extending broadband fibers from utility pole to utility pole in the southwest section of town. Improved and affordable Internet is expected to be available to community institutions and more than 500 homes in town in early 2013.

Courtesy photo

Engineering crews from Waveguide of Chelmsford, Mass., and Nashua have been in Rindge over the past couple of weeks extending broadband fibers from utility pole to utility pole in the southwest section of town. Improved and affordable Internet is expected to be available to community institutions and more than 500 homes in town in early 2013. Courtesy photo

RINDGE — A plan years in the making to improve broadband access for several community institutions and approximately 524 homes in southwest Rindge is on track for completion within the first quarter of 2013, according to Carole Monroe, executive director of N.H. Fast Roads.

Engineering crews from Waveguide of Chelmsford, Mass., and Nashua have been seen in town over the past couple of weeks extending broadband fibers from utility pole to utility pole in Rindge, said Town Administrator Carlotta Lilback Pini in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Dec. 20.

Waveguide was hired by N.H. Fast Roads — a subsidy of Network New Hampshire Now, an institute comprised of public and private entities throughout the state and administered by the University of New Hampshire — which is heading the broadband project. Fast Roads will provide improved Internet access to 1,300 homes in Rindge and Enfield and 220 community institutions from Orford to Rindge thanks to a $5.5 million federal grant and $2.2 million in privately raised funds.

“I think this is one of the best things that ever happened to Rindge,” said Pini, who serves as vice chair on the N.H. Fast Roads Board of Directors. “From an economic development standpoint, I think this town will become more attractive in the eyes of perspective homebuyers and business owners because we’ll have this fiber.”

Fast Roads is in the process of installing an “open network,” meaning that multiple Internet providers could take advantage of the upgrade, Monroe told the Ledger-Transcript last week. Fast Roads does not yet have commitments from service providers, but Monroe said Fast Roads is currently negotiating with several. Once those service providers are determined, she added, they will market their services to home and/or business owners.

While it is unclear at this time how much the service will cost the average customer, Monroe said affordable Internet access for residents remains the goal.

Pini said Fast Roads is asking townspeople who are interested in the service and live within the coverage area to complete a connection agreement, which is available on Rindge’s town website and at the town offices. “It is a non-binding agreement. It simply tells us that folks are interested and therefore a [broadband service] connection will be made at the utility pole nearest their property,” Pini said.

High-speed Internet access offers increased opportunities for municipalities, educational and health institutions, as well as home business owners, who currently reside in unserved or underserved areas, Pini said. In the southwest corner of Rindge, she said, dial-up or satellite are currently many residents’ only option for Internet service.

“The infrastructure in place now won’t be able to handle the demand in the coming years,” Pini said, adding that nowadays families have multiple computers, smartphones and iPads, which all rely on the Internet. “The fiber will ensure that approximately 500 businesses and homes will be able to keep pace with progress.”

In addition to Rindge homeowners, Fast Roads will bring improved Internet connectivity to Ingalls Memorial Library, the Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Rindge Recreation Center at Wellington Park, Rindge Meeting House and town offices, as well as public and private schools, including Rindge Memorial School, Hampshire Country School and Franklin Pierce University.

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