Broadband service woefully slow

  • Temple Town Hall Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/15/2020 4:14:28 PM

The Temple Select Board started a request for information to local internet providers after the town’s Broadband Subcommittee released the results of the internet connectivity survey they conducted this spring. According to the report, almost half the survey’s respondents reported household internet speeds below the minimum definition of broadband. 175 people responded to the survey out of an estimated 617 households in town.

Broadband subcommittee Chair Jessica Hipp said she was very encouraged by the survey. “The number of people who filled out the survey speaks to the need right now,” she said. The subcommittee is waiting on RFI data to determine what areas of town do and don’t currently have access to broadband, but they did get some great anecdotal information, she said, like residents who reported that they pay for a certain internet speed but never get anything that fast. Satisfaction with existing internet service was correlated with the speed a household reported, the Subcommittee noted, but faster internet speeds were important to most respondents.

“People appear to want options,” the Subcommittee wrote in a memo, citing residents’ concerns about sole supplier issues, and comments that broadband service from Comcast was expensive, or that it was difficult or costly to set up the service at their home. A handful of residents expressed concern that taxes would go up to pay for broadband. Installing inexpensive fiber-based broadband in the low coverage areas of town is a solution that could address many of the complaints aired in the survey, the Subcommittee said in a memo.

“We sent an RFI to all ISPs named in the broadband survey,” Hipp said. That includes Consolidated Communications, Comcast, TDS, HughesNet, and Verizon. The RFI deadline is Aug. 14, at which point the town could issue an request for proposals for municipal internet, following nearby towns Hancock, Dublin, and Rindge, which priced municipal broadband over the past year

The NH Broadband Investment and Planning Initiative and Mission Broadband is also conducting a survey on internet availability, affordability and reliability due to the rise in need for virtual services from COVID-19 shutdowns. It’s available at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NH_SD_BB_Survey and the data is set to be available by request for anyone attempting to further broadband in the state, the Subcommittee wrote in a separate announcement.


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