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    « Holiday Trash Collection, Board Minutes | Main | Help Needed for Our Schools »

    Access Road, Coyotes, and Broadband

    Lots to report on this rainy Monday!

    Cardigan Mountain access road: Right at the start of the hiking season, last week's heavy rains washed out the road and caused the state to put up the gate, adding two miles round-trip to the summit hike. As you can imagine, parking over the weekend was a mess.

    Dorothy Heinrichs spoke to Dennis Ford of NHDOT District II this morning, and Bob Proulx said he had called as well. Ford said they hope to start work tomorrow with the goal of having the road repaired and open by late Thursday...IF the weather cooperates.

    Coyotes: Canid expert Chris Shadler gave a well-attended presentation last night, preceded by excellent potluck desserts. She said coyotes started showing up in our area in the 1940s; as much as 30% of their DNA are wolf, with some dog mixed in. Not only are our eastern coyotes bigger than the western variety, ours occasionally hunt in packs. Most of the diet is small rodents. Schadler spoke against the current state's policy of allowing coyote hunting 365 days of the year, including nighttime. She says coyotes are a remarkably adaptable species, and hunting causes them to breed faster. Because coyotes eat vast qualities of white-footed mice--the main carrier of ticks with Lyme disease--the animals can be good for our health.

    Broadband: On May 16, John Stevens from the NH Department of Safety spoke before the Orange Planning Board. Stevens is the statewide interoperability coordinator, responsible for getting first responders to communicate more effectively. FirstNet, a federal entity within the Commerce Department in charge of setting up a nationwide public safety broadband network, has a $6.5 billion budget to create a public-private partnership over the next 25 years. Stevens noted that while it sounds like a lot of money, it's not much when distributed over all the states and territories. (The communications-satellite industry spends $300 billion a year.)

    New Hampshire is exploring two options: FirstNet, and its own alternative network using a partnership with Rivada. This private company, uses arbitrage, or bidding, to allow broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T to buy up excess bandwidth. 

    What does this mean? Essentially, Stevens says that under either system we can expect to see cellular 4G broadband in our area within 4-5 years. Cellular broadband isn't cheap--$30-80 a month, depending on whether you want to watch Netflix--and it isn't as fast as other means. But it IS broadband. 

    Planning board members asked whether any new towers would have to be built. Probably, Stevens said, adding that the towers would be your standard cellular towers. Judith Lindahl noted that one would probably have to go on Hoyt Hill to provide access to more of the town.

    With any luck, the new system will not preclude other forms of broadband from reaching more of our town, such as DSL (broadband over phone lines) and cable.

    As always, we'll keep you posted!

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