The town of Hanover, New Hampshire (pop. 11,500), is considering building its own municipal fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network following the enactment of a new state law that makes it easier for communities to take on such projects.
Under the new state law (Chapter 240, HB486-Final Version), New Hampshire towns and cities can now establish special assessment districts to finance telecommunications infrastructure, expanding a long-standing statute. Specifically, the law now includes “communication infrastructure” as among the types of “public facilities” for which a special assessment district can be formed.
Under the expanded law, communities can finance fiber optic networks by billing individuals who reside within the district for a prorated share of the cost of installing that communication infrastructure.
Prospects for Fiber Raised
Hanover town manager Julia Griffin told our Chris Mitchell in a recent podcast of Community Broadband Bits:
“For the first time I think there is a role here for a municipal entity to help ensure that fiber is installed and that homeowners and businesses have an opportunity to connect to that network."
“Prior to this we've been able to create districts for water and sewer and sidewalks and street lights and even for downtown maintenance; but never for communication infrastructure. Nor has the statutes that have been on the books for years, been as expansive as this one is in terms of laying out just how we make these assessment districts work.”
Since New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the special assessment districts measure into law last July, Hanover has started looking into building a municipal network. It is in the process of finalizing a contract with Wide Open Networks to perform the cost analysis and system network design.
Hanover Explores Building Fiber Network
“We will likely have a completed design by late March at the latest,” Griffin told us. “We have asked them (Wide Open Networks) to develop cost estimates, recommend options of undergrounding the fiber and develop an implementation plan.”