Tuesday, December 09, 2008

3G and fiber-optic TV Come to Portsmouth!

1 if by by Air

One of the more compelling arguments against the new 3G iPhone was that there is no 3G network to speak of in New Hampshire. But that has changed recently, with the stealthy roll-out of 3G throughout the state and up the I-95 corridor into Maine. Late last month, Granite Staters began buzzing on MacRumors.com forums about the 3G bars they were seeing on their iPhones. On the 24th, a poster reported strong 3G signal in Portsmouth and Rye, and according to a post as of today, Concord and Manchester are apparently live now, as well. While the AT&T plan remains obnoxiously expensive, the advent of the speedier 3G network might make for a few more iPhones under the tree this season.

2 if by Land

Meanwhile, on the landline side of things, I came across this tasty little tidbit on Engadget the other day about Verizon's... OK, OK, FairPoint's... plans to roll-out TV service on their fiber network. In the past couple years, Verizon strung fiber-optics in limited areas in Portsmouth, happily including my neighborhood in Atlantic Heights. We signed up for the FiOS right away and have enjoyed fast, reliable fiber-optic Internet service: I just pulled 2.25 Mbps on CNet's broadband speed tester, for which I'm paying $44.99/mo. (Note: This is a negotiated/grandfathered rate. Your results may vary.)

Although the billing has been a nightmare since the FairPoint deal, the Internet speed is great and I'm generally a satisfied customer. But this news about the FTTH (Fiber to the Home) -- or IPTV as it's also known -- pilot program has me potentially moving from a satisfied to a happy customer. Although I knew the phone company could compete with Comcast on TV service with its fiber network, I expected they would concentrate on Boston or maybe the larger NH cities; then, after the FairPoint deal, I figured that pipe dream had gone up in smoke. But apparently, Portsmouth is where its at, as this is the only place FairPoint is doing the pilot. As you may recall, I'm a not-so-happy DirecTV customer, and let's face it, Comcast is no great shakes either, so I'm all for a 3rd option, and this might be it. And a free HDTV? Sign me up!

Update: I've e-mailed my application to FairPoint and they have responded with the generic "thank you for your interest" reply. I'll keep you posted!

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