NEW LONDON, N.H. — Superintendent Winfried Feneberg is pleased to share that, thanks to the efforts of a local group of volunteers, the town of Springfield will soon have the infrastructure needed to support high-speed internet– an improvement with the potential to significantly support remote learning capabilities locally.
Consolidated Communications was awarded approximately $3.5 million from the State of New Hampshire through the CARES Act on Aug. 6, in an effort to bring high-speed internet to the town of Springfield among other local communities. This project will make Fiber to the Home (FTTH), which provides faster connection speeds, accessible to every residence in Springfield. Residents will have the option to subscribe to the service.
“These funds will directly support members of the Kearsarge Regional School District community in accessing faster internet speeds,” said Superintendent Feneberg. “Students, staff, and families in Springfield will be able to better access learning tools online, which is critical as we continue to navigate education amid the ever evolving COVID-19 situation.”
The Springfield Internet Committee, also known as Bring Internet To Springfield (BITS), contacted Consolidated Communications earlier this year to request the company apply for the grant and list Springfield as a community to benefit from the funding. Under conditions of the grant, the infrastructure must be in place by Dec. 15 of this year.
The committee is made up of eight members, including Chairman is Richard Petrin, the former Kearsarge Regional School District Business Administrator, and longtime Kearsarge Regional High English teacher Kevin Lee, who has been with the district for 26 years.
“This will be a wonderful thing for the town of Springfield and for all of its residents. We will be able to function as 21st century consumers of information as we haven’t been able to in the past, and I’m really happy for the kids,” Lee said. “The fact that this is going to happen soon is pretty awesome.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty of in-person learning provided an incentive to push for better internet as people worked from home and students transitioned to remote learning. Students at Kearsarge will follow an at-school and at-home remote learning model this year. To learn more about the district’s reopening plan, click here.
Gov. Chris Sununu authorized the allocation and expenditure of $50 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund this June to address the increased need for internet access amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.