Governor announces more broadband expansion, increased unemployment benefits

Christel Deskins

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that more than 4,500 properties in several New Hampshire communities will be hooked up to broadband services thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funds.>> Download the free WMUR appSununu said $14 million is being used to expand broadband access as part of the Connecting New Hampshire […]

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that more than 4,500 properties in several New Hampshire communities will be hooked up to broadband services thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funds.>> Download the free WMUR appSununu said $14 million is being used to expand broadband access as part of the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program. In addition to locations that were previously announced, expansion projects are now slated for Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Canaan, Lempster, Loudon, Stoddard, Hinsdale and Nelson.The governor said another award had been granted in the town of Sandwich, but that project has fallen through.The program was announced as a way to connect homes in rural communities that didn’t have access to broadband at a time when it has never been more essential. With classrooms and medical visits moving online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sununu said having access to broadband is critical.The governor also announced Tuesday that New Hampshire has been approved for the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program to provide $300 of additional unemployment help on top of a person’s regular benefit.After President Donald Trump announced the program by executive action, Sununu said the state negotiated with the White House to determine how it might operate in New Hampshire. The White House was requiring that the state provide $100 in benefits to open up the extra $300 in federal benefits. Sununu said anyone who receives at least $100 in benefits from the state will qualify for the additional benefit. Anyone who was receiving less than $100 will now get $100 after the state raised its minimum benefit to comply with the new program. The additional benefit will be retroactive to Aug. 1, but Sununu said the state will need a couple of weeks to fully update its system.Sununu also announced that the state’s housing relief program has a new streamlined application for those seeking help with housing costs. The eight-page application has been reduced to about three pages, Sununu said.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that more than 4,500 properties in several New Hampshire communities will be hooked up to broadband services thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funds.

>> Download the free WMUR app

Sununu said $14 million is being used to expand broadband access as part of the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program. In addition to locations that were previously announced, expansion projects are now slated for Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Canaan, Lempster, Loudon, Stoddard, Hinsdale and Nelson.

The governor said another award had been granted in the town of Sandwich, but that project has fallen through.

The program was announced as a way to connect homes in rural communities that didn’t have access to broadband at a time when it has never been more essential. With classrooms and medical visits moving online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sununu said having access to broadband is critical.

The governor also announced Tuesday that New Hampshire has been approved for the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program to provide $300 of additional unemployment help on top of a person’s regular benefit.

After President Donald Trump announced the program by executive action, Sununu said the state negotiated with the White House to determine how it might operate in New Hampshire. The White House was requiring that the state provide $100 in benefits to open up the extra $300 in federal benefits.

Sununu said anyone who receives at least $100 in benefits from the state will qualify for the additional benefit. Anyone who was receiving less than $100 will now get $100 after the state raised its minimum benefit to comply with the new program.

The additional benefit will be retroactive to Aug. 1, but Sununu said the state will need a couple of weeks to fully update its system.

Sununu also announced that the state’s housing relief program has a new streamlined application for those seeking help with housing costs. The eight-page application has been reduced to about three pages, Sununu said.

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