HALIFAX -- Residents living on 11 roads in town will benefit from a recently announced broadband expansion project.
Earlier in the month, FairPoint announced that its high speed Internet service would be expanded to reach people living or working on Cannon Road, Collins Road, Hall Road, Hanson Road, Hatch School Road, Peterson Lane, Pike Road, Shearer Hill Road, Sutherland Lane, Wheeler Road and Winchester Road.
"There is progress being made," said Halifax Broadband Committee member Earl Holtz. "It’s not ever as fast as you want."
More than 120 homes and businesses in Halifax as well as Whitingham are expected to be served by the new expansion, which is partly funded by the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund that is aimed at reaching high speed Internet to rural areas. Holtz believes that this grant has been helpful for Halifax.
Recently, Holtz spoke with Jeff Austin of FairPoint and was told that the company would be sending improved pricing for establishing broadband in the West Halifax Village.
Part of the expansion that was announced has been a result of where a switcher was installed at Gates Pond Road. Service from that equipment will now reach more homes than before.
Holtz believes the expansion will not only serve more homes but the ones it already does will receive a higher quality Internet service.
The Broadband Committee discusses the various opportunities to improve broadband with representatives from companies specializing in communications. Recently, there seems to be more progress. In the past three or four months, FairPoint has contacted Holtz on several occassions.
"There has been more sharing of information of what they are doing and where they are at that point," Holtz said.
Employees of VTel, who had been working at the Halifax Center, brought drawings to a man who signed an agreement to host a utility pole at his property for a venture that will improve Internet service in the area.
One of the next goals will be getting improved broadband service at the Town Offices, the Community Center and the Halifax Fire Department next door.
"They do physically have a fiber line that is directly across from the Town Office that they put in across the street," said Holtz of FairPoint.
Electronic equipment would still need to be installed at this point. There has been discussion on the matter and information will be sent to residents regarding the process of connecting to it.
Currently, most operating in the area of the Town Offices is done through a DSL connection.
"It’s not fast enough to do things you have to do during emergency situations," said Holtz. "We’ve been having conversations, both the Selectboard and Broadband Committee, on what kinds of speed we need."
He said that Austin had initiated the conversation when an update had been given regarding the equipment at Gates Pond Road. Austin introduced himself as a new representative of FairPoint then proceeded into talks that included technical information about the fiber line in town.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.