For years a major complaint in the North Country has been the lack of cell service and high-speed internet. But plans to get more serious about fixing that were announced Thursday in Whitefield...
Before the end of the summer there will be cell service and high-speed internet available in more parts of the North Country including areas around Pittsburg and Errol.
“I stand before you today, the happiest guy in this room, because with this initiative going forward a lot of great things are going to happen, " said Steve Ellis, a selectman from Pittsburg.
The key is a $240,000 federal grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission.
That money is being combined with $60,000 from the Colebrook Development Corporation and a $60,000 donation from Northern Pass.
The companies directly involved are Great North Woods Wireless and TCC Networks. They will be making their own financial investments.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen described it as a classic public-private partnership.
The money will allow towers in Groveton, Milan, Errol and Pittsburg to provide more powerful and sophisticated 4G LTE cell coverage.
The expectation is that the system will work with all major carriers, said Bob Parsloe, the chief executive officer of Great North Woods Wireless.
Rick Samson, a Coos County Commissioner, says tourists expect such cell service and now they’ll have it.
It will also make it easier for snowmobilers and ATV riders to call for help and feel more secure in remote areas, said Harry Brown, the president of the New Hampshire Off Highway Vehicle Association.
There’s also an economic angle, Samson said.
“It can be a tool to draw industry or home-based businesses to the area.”
Indeed, Pittsburg selectman Ellis said the tiny town is hoping to attract more families who can use the high-speed internet to work from their homes.