CONCORD – The Senate Public & Municipal Affairs Committee unanimously voted to approve SB 170, legislation to broaden the ability of municipalities to issue bonds to contract with broadband service providers to expand services in underserved communities. Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene), prime sponsor of the bill, issued the following comments on the committee vote:
“Broadband connectivity is extremely important to both businesses and residential internet users in western New Hampshire and across the rural areas of our state,” said Senator Kahn (D-Keene). “We want to resolve the Broadband Municipal Financing issue and get a system in place that works for everyone—municipalities, towns and retail broadband providers. It’s been 12 years since state bonding and broadband statutes have been updated. In particular, SB 170 as amended provides for public-private partnerships to leverage greater investment in rural broadband connectivity for areas currently unserved.”
“As seen in other rural states, public financing is an important catalyst for private investment. This bill adds an important tool for towns and municipalities that want to develop additional residential and commercial internet broadband connectivity.”
SB 170 now moves to consideration by the full Senate and, if approved, will move to the House for further consideration.