Internet Access in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Board of Directors

Declan O’Connell
Fred Bickford
Gunnar Berg


Declan O’Connell, President
Peter C. Hoag, Vice President
Robert Butcher, Treasurer
Catherine Graham, Secretary


In the summer of 2003, Gunnar Berg, in his role as moderator of the Yahoo Group, The Sandwich Board, began research into the varying dialup connection speeds of members. This led to calls to ISPs, one of which was First Bridge Internet in Conway, NH. The late Don Jones of First Bridge explained some of the factors that would cause slow dialup connections, frequent drop outs, or the inability to connect at all. A discussion of options for better internet connections ensued, one of which was point to multi point 2.4 Ghz wireless which Jones had implemented in Conway.

A brief tour of Sandwich was arranged surveying accessible hilltops which might be suitable for a wireless antenna. At the end of the day, Jones was asked if wireless was possible in Sandwich and his considered opinion was "Well....yes......but I saw a lot of trees and squirrels and not many rooftops". Of course that was all Berg needed to hear and the project was off and running.

A test antenna was installed on Brown Hill bolted to the top of a tall and weather-beaten pine by the network's second volunteer, Peter Hoag. Because it was a remote site with no power, photovoltaic panels were put in place with battery storage. The intention was to break off some of the bandwidth from the existing Conway network and send it 11 miles down the valley to Brown Hill. When that resulted in obstacles on the Conway end, the idea of a local Sandwich network that would be fed by a T-1 line from the Center started to look like the only way to make it work.

This resulted in a search for antenna locations that could serve as wireless links back to the center of town. By this time, both Berg and Hoag realized that it was going to take a substantial effort to make the project work, but they both thought it would be time and money well spent as there was no broadband provider on the horizon that was going to ever see Sandwich as a profitable market.

Through the technical expertise of Don Jones and Mike Muracco at First Bridge, and help from John Howe on Diamond Ledge, the Samuel Wentworth Library and the Quimby Trust, the wireless network was lit up and began transmitting data early in January of 2004. It was quite amazing to put it mildly.

Over the next year and a half, more access points were added and customers hooked up. The network was solidly in the red however, and both Hoag and Berg were devoting more resources to the network than could be spared. Since First Bridge was a two hour round trip away, they found it increasingly difficult to maintain and service the system. In late August of 2005, First Bridge turned over ownership and operation of the network to Berg.

Since Berg was not inclined to shut down the network and abandon the 40 or so customers who by now had come to depend on the service, he called together users and supportive residents to form a corporation to own and operate the network and come up with a viable business plan to ensure its continuation. The result was CyberPine Wireless Networks.

Many thanks to the officers and board of CyberPine, Jack and Marti Myer of Brown Hill, Judy and Allan Fulkerson of Brown's Point, Bob and Rae Streeter of Little Young Mountain, John Howe and Family of Diamond Ledge, Larry and Judy Webster of Burleigh Farm, Rich Moren of Ossipee Mtn., Gary Floyd, The Samuel Wentworth Library, The Town of Sandwich and the Quimby Trustees for seeing the value of broadband access for this under served area and making the project a success.

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