Friday September 14, 2012

HINSDALE, N.H. -- As part of a plan to extend broadband Internet to 95 percent of its service areas, FairPoint Communications has made the service available to more than 170 homes and businesses in town.

Eligible customers living in Hinsdale will now be able to surf the Internet, download music and send e-mails with greater speed like those living in other sections of their state.

This expansion is part an agreement FairPoint made when it purchased Verizon’s properties in northern New Hampshire. Jeff Nevins, FairPoint’s public relations manager for New Hampshire, said 45,000 homes and businesses are expected to boast broadband by the time the project is done in 2013.

Nevins said his company has since April 2008 invested more than $182 million in its communications infrastructure and technology to bring broadband to northern New England, including building thousands of miles of new fiber across the region. FairPoint claims its new fiber-based, high capacity network offers customers a better and faster way to communicate.

"Availability over the state is a very hot issue right now," Nevins said. "It’s a good thing for the communities. Everybody wants broadband. They want it fast and they want it now."

High-speed connection areas include portions of the following streets/roads in Hinsdale: Brattleboro, Breezy Knoll, Charles, Monument, Old Brattleboro, Oxbow, Paddock, Stearns Park, Weatherhead Hollow and Weaver.

Hinsdale Town Administrator Jill Collins said the area will encompass mostly north Hinsdale. She said FairPoint’s plan might end a bit of a monopoly in the town

"I think the nice part about it is that people will have two choices -- they won’t have to just pick Comcast. They can choose FairPoint if they want," she said. "It will be a great opportunity for people who feel they pay too much for high-speed Internet."

Collins said both homeowners and local business owners will benefit because they will be able to shop around.

Laura Keith King, the president of the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, said having high-speed Internet is crucial to the success of any company or organization nowadays.

"Every business -- small, medium or large -- needs broadband because without it they can’t compete," she said. "Internet is an intricate part of our business climate right now. ... It helps them compete locally, nationally and internationally. This is the world we’re living in."

She said businesses use the Internet for online banking, social networking and sales on their own websites.

Nevins said the plan is in its final stages now and extending service to the remaining five percent of its goal will be the most difficult. He said it will be more costly because the remaining areas are much more rural and have populations that are not as concentrated.

"Broadband access opens doors to the world for the residents and businesses in New Hampshire and is fundamental to the state’s future economic growth," Pat McHugh, FairPoint’s New Hampshire state president, said in a statement to the Reformer. "Our employees are working every day to build more broadband across the state. We are pleased to announce we have expanded the availability of high-speed Internet to these additional homes and businesses in Hinsdale."

Nevins said he gets a list every week of new areas that have received the services, or been "turned up," as he puts it.

Any residential customer wanting to find out if they are eligible for FairPoint’s high-speed Internet or to obtain information about prices and plans can call 866-984-2001 or visit www.FairPoint.com.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.