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5 Questions with Carol Miller, NH Economic Development

We’re well enough into the 21st century that once futuristic terms, such as broadband, connectivity, bits and bytes, are now part of our daily lives. Think of it: A generation has now lived in the era of technology – computers, cell phones, email, apps.

Today’s 5 Questions go to our own Carol Miller, who makes sure New Hampshire is on the forefront of technology.

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Carol Miller ~ Director, Broadband  Technology

1. It’s nice to introduce you this morning. As the director of broadband technology, can you tell us what your role is?

My role at the Division of Economic Development is very diverse. My first responsibility is to support our recruitment and retention personnel and their clients with information on broadband availability, capacity and provider options within the scope of location selection, connectivity challenges, and technology. My other duties include tracking broadband statewide, and its effects on state economic development initiatives, and advocacy for the availability and utilization of high capacity broadband to the citizens of New Hampshire. I run a help desk for communities and citizens in need of broadband for the state, with referrals coming from the Governor’s Office, the Public Utilities Commission, legislators and economic development agencies. I manage the Governor’s Telecommunication Planning and Development Advisory Committee with the division, through a sub-committee structure that covers tele-health, education, adoption, deployment and agency goals and objectives. In addition, I represent the Department of Resources and Economic Development on  FirstNet (public safety nationwide interoperable radio network)at the Department of Safety, school connectivity at the Department of Education and use of tele-health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

2. Broadband is one of those things we’ve come to expect in the 21st century. How does New Hampshire compare with the rest of the country?

New Hampshire, for the most part, is fairly well-connected compared to the rest of the country. Despite our status, there are many pockets in rural areas that need investment in infrastructure to support high speed capacity. Many areas only have access to one provider limiting service options and falling short of delivering the promise of innovation that broadband brings to a community. New Hampshire is considered a high tech state. Business and residents embraced technology early on. With some major federal investments nationwide, many states have improved their broadband availability and some of the playing field has leveled off considerably. New Hampshire is still at the forefront of the technology, typically scoring within the top 15 states for access.

3. Why is broadband so important for a state like New Hampshire?

The benefits of broadband can be correlated to jobs, economic growth, and cost avoidance for our residents and businesses. About 34 percent of new jobs is the result of broadband; about 1.2 million jobs have been created by the development of the internet over the last decade.

Broadband creates direct jobs with the deployment of infrastructure, indirect and induced jobs from the activity, and additional jobs as a result of network availability and spillovers.

4. What are the economic development benefits of broadband?

Broadband improves efficiency and productivity of business, increases community competitiveness by attracting knowledge-based businesses, and sparks new and innovative technologies, services, applications and business models.   On the residential side  access to broadband improves educational opportunities, access to tele-health services and increases opportunity for employment and household income.

Having access to broadband can impact household income by as much as $2,100 annually. Startups can save an estimated $16,500 by using broadband services.  The Fiber to the Home Council found that companies with fiber connectivity saved about 20 percent on operating expenses. Electronic health records and remote access will save over $700 billion nationally over the next 10 to 15 years.  Adequate broadband increases real estate values $5,000 to $6,000 and lack of it decrease real estate value up to 20 percent.

5. What’s ahead?

I will continue to provide support, advocacy, and consulting in the legislature and for communities in need of broadband working with public and private partners throughout the state to remove barriers. Broadband is essential and the  availability, adoption, affordability and high speed capacity will be challenges for many years to come.

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