Towns vote in favor of broadband network

03/05/08 6:29AM By Lynne McCrea

(Host) Voters have given overwhelming support to a proposal to build a new broadband communications network in eastern and central Vermont.

A non-profit group working with more than 20 towns hopes to connect the communities with fiber-optic service for phone, Internet and cable TV.

Jim Masland is a state representative from Thetford, and one of the organizers of the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network. He said most of the towns considering the proposal gave unanimous or near unanimous support.

(Masland)" It means overwhelming support for what we've envisioned and put forward -- interlocal cooperation among towns in Vermont, to bring about subscriber funded, universal access broadband services.  And I can also say it's indicative of what Vermonters do best, which is cooperate amongst ourselves when we need to get something done."

(Host) The project would be financed through a ‘capital lease', where a financial institution would own the fiber network, and then lease it back to the non-profit group.

Masland says the next step is for selectboards to sign an ‘inter-local contract'. Then they'll proceed to line up financing, and build a network.

Project organizers hope to get Vermonters on line by the end of next year.  

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