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TMCNet:  Report: NH is above-average in broadband among states, low in fiber-optic access

[December 12, 2012]

Report: NH is above-average in broadband among states, low in fiber-optic access

Dec 12, 2012 (The Telegraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- New Hampshire does reasonably well in a new state-by-state survey of high-speed Internet access, ranking 14th on a list compiled the industry group TechNet, but it's way behind Massachusetts, which came in at No. 2.

The index ranked states based on broadband adoption, network quality and economic structure.

New Hampshire was a little below average for states in percentage of households that subscribe to broadband Internet, usually via cable modem or the telephone-based system called DSL, but well above average on network speeds and a pair of economic indices.

The economic figure was partly based on the percentage of jobs counted as being part of "information and communications technology" and partly based on an estimate of jobs involved in developing apps, the small software modules that have become wildly popular thanks to smartphones and wireless tablets.

TechNet is a nonprofit network consisting of CEOs of technology firms who lobby for government policies to support the various industries. The report, State Broadband Index 2012, advocates state actions such as subsidies, tariffs, loan guarantees and various public-private partnerships to increase deployment of broadband wires and improve conditions for broadband companies.

"Massachusetts is a world leader in the innovation economy because of our infrastructure investments and broadband expansion is a key part of that strategy. We are committed to ensuring dependable, high-speed Internet access is available to every home and business in the commonwealth by June 2013," said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in a press release issued with the report.

The State Broadband Index 2012 was underwritten by network provider Cicso Systems. TechNet last issued a similar report in 2003.

One area where New Hampshire does poorly is access to "fiber-to-the-home" technology, which sends fiber-optic wires, which can deliver Internet at the highest speeds, directly to a residence instead of using slower copper or so-called coax cables for the final connection.

Only 9 percent of New Hampshire homes are "passed by fiber," meaning they have fiber lines running down their street to which they could easily connect. In Massachusetts, by contrast, the figure is 63 percent.

The difference is largely a reflection of the fact that Verizon stopped putting up its FiOS fiber-to-the-home network when it sold its wire lines to FairPoint three years ago, and FairPoint has not expanded the service, which it calls FAST. Verizon still serves Massachusetts.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks' blog on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).

___ (c)2012 The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.) Visit The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.) at www.nashuatelegraph.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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