Francestown gets another fiber internet option

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/23/2021 11:38:23 AM

About 170 Francestown households are now eligible for a new source of fiber broadband internet after TDS announced its customers could sign up for fiber earlier this week. Broadband committee chair Alfred Eisenberg described the situation as a “small glow at the end of the tunnel” for eligible residents. “Prices/speeds can’t be beat,” for households in the TDS footprint, he wrote to residents.

There are about 113 houses in town with no real access to internet outside of satellite services like HughesNet or StarLink, Eisenberg said.

Comcast serves 665 residences in town, and TDS additionally serves 140 of those, plus 30 additional residences that Comcast does not, he said. Francestown has 808 addresses in the 911 database, although that number might include some unoccupied structures, he said.

Francestown put out a request for proposals for broadband bonds, but the responses from Comcast and Hub66 the town received in late January left something to be desired, Eisenberg said. Comcast’s price to connect the additional residences was “mind-boggling,” and would have added $50 a month to subscriber’s bills, he said. The fiber proposal from Hub66 was affected by Francestown’s isolated patches of unserved areas, Eisenberg said, which requires a new company to run fiber through the whole town in order to connect them, he said. Hub66 also proposed a more affordable wireless broadband solution, in which internet would beam from a tower and anyone that could see the towers could sign up for service, Eisenberg said.

Though the wireless proposal had some merits, the broadband committee put those proposals on hold in hopes that the latest infrastructure bill working its way through congress might offer some assistance, he said.

Eisenberg himself connected to StarLink earlier this year and likes the quality of connection. That will be an option for most people in town by the summer as the satellite service expands, he said.

TDS subscribers can call 855-220-2592 to get set up with fiber.

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