Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program
The Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will benefit students, families, and businesses as the need for distance learning, telework, telehealth, and other remote services continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Chris Sununu has authorized the allocation and expenditure of $50 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (“flex funds”) to address the increased need for internet connectivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will benefit students, families, and businesses as the need for distance learning, telework, telehealth, and other remote services continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire has received national recognition for its swift and successful transition to remote services. Nevertheless, areas with limited internet connectivity have experienced challenges with this transition. The Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will address these challenges for students participating in remote learning, as well as other Granite Staters utilizing the internet to access telehealth services, including vital mental health services. The program will also provide Granite State families with limited internet connectivity situations with expanded access to vital public health information as well as additional opportunities to connect with other family members that are otherwise cut off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) will provide the allocated $50 million in “flex funds” to the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) as they work collaboratively with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop the program criteria.
Projects that have already commenced the field construction/build process will not be eligible for this program. Planned and permitted projects that have not commenced construction may be eligible. Projects related to existing rural broadband expansion commitments or other existing contractual commitments will also be excluded from consideration.
To meaningfully affect the State of New Hampshire’s response to COVID-19, all expenditures under this program will end by December 30, 2020, and the projects must be complete as early as possible, and no later than December 15, 2020.