Temple completes broadband buildout

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-24-2023 12:18 PM

This month marks the completion of Temple’s broadband buildout, bringing high-speed internet to every household in town.

Jessica Hipp, chair of the town’s Broadband Committee, which will now disband, said much of the town already had high-speed fiber service, but one private road required the installation of a transformer, which necessitated a wait until spring and the ground thaw. But as of early May, the entire town has access to fiber internet.

In 2021, Temple joined several other towns in approving a bond to contract with Consolidated Communications, and, after its creation, its Fidium fiber service, to connect every address in town to a high-speed option.

Temple’s 20-year bonds total $710,435, which will be repaid through a user fee attached to those who use the Fidium service, not through tax dollars.

“We have gotten a lot of great feedback,” Hipp said. “Our town had a doughnut problem, where people in the center of town had options, but on the edges, people didn’t.”

While the town had been working on the project pre-pandemic, Hipp said shutdowns and so many things moving online only brought a brighter focus to the need for access to high-speed options.

“For those that only had access to DSL, it’s life-changing to be able to access all the things you’re able to do on the internet,” Hipp said.

Hipp said she’s well aware of the struggle. When she and her husband first moved to Temple, they had access to the internet through a digital subscriber line, or DSL. Both members of the household worked from home, and it was an untenable situation, Hipp said.

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Hipp’s husband, a web developer, would have to schedule uploads to happen overnight. Eventually, Hipp said they had to make the decision to either pay privately for a high-speed line to be brought to their home or to move.

“I didn’t want anyone else in town to have to go through this,” Hipp said. “I consider [internet] a basic utility. A standard website today has images or animations that demand more than a website in the early 2000s. And now, there’s so much that happens through a hybrid nature, with Zoom options, or telehealth, and more people working from home. We’ve crossed a threshold with COVID.”

Current introductory prices for Fidium for Temple customers are $99 per month for two gigs, $84 per month for one gig, $74 per month for 250 Mbps and $49 per month for 50 Mbps. Prices are locked for the first year. The rates include the $14 subscriber fee for Temple residents, which is used to pay back the bond.

Temple customers can sign up at fidiumfiber.com/fiber-internet-temple-nh. The Broadband Subcommittee is now no more, but the webpage and email address, templebroadband@templenh.org, will remain active. This email address will be directed to members of the Community Advisory Committee.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on  Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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