N.H. seeking telecom providers for state

New Hampshire will begin to better market itself to telecommunications companies

in hopes of developing advanced technology in the state, as Gov. Jeanne

Shaheen signed a telecom initiative late last month.

Under the bill sponsored by Rep. John Thomas, the Department of Resources

and Economic Development will focus its resources on the telecom industry.

The bill sets two primary duties for the initiative: The department will

hire a marketing specialist to focus on industry initiatives; and create

a Telecommunications Answer Center on the Internet, a telecom database providing

service providers, services and infrastructure information to businesses.

"One problem in the state is that it is very rural — with spread out communities — and telecom companies want to go where all the people are," said Pamela

Walsh, Shaheen's spokeswoman.

The department will work with communities in an effort to have them aggregate

demand for telecom services, attracting providers to the state's rural areas.

The bill also creates a telecommunications advisory panel, composed of small

and large businesses, residential users, government officials and regional

economic development groups.

The initiative was a recommendation of the Telecommunications Roundtable,

a private/public forum, established by Shaheen and the Public Utilities

Commission.

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