New Funding Brings Broadband To Rural Communities

09/05/12 6:06AM By Bob Kinzel

The Shumlin Administration says it's optimistic that it will meet its goal of having full broadband coverage in every part of the state by the end of next year.

Karen Marshall is the chief of Connect VT, the agency of state government that oversees technological issues.

She says a new round of federal grants combined with expansion projects launched by FairPoint Communications, will bring service to the residents of 19 communities that previously lacked broadband coverage.   

Irv Thomae is the vice chair of EC Fiber, a non-profit group that's working to expand broadband coverage in roughly two dozen towns in Orange and Windsor counties.  He says the project is critical to the future of the state economy.

"This is important for a sustainable economy so not only the cheese makers and software developers, weavers and other high tech people can reach their market," said Thomae. "But also so that we can look forward to our adult sons and daughters being able to come home to Vermont and continue their careers here at home and contribute to an ongoing Vermont economy."

Providing access to all locations in the remaining 59 "hard to reach" communities isn't going to cheap.

Connect VT chief Marshall says the cost per hook up in these towns will be roughly four thousand dollars for each house or business but she says it's important for the state to achieve its statewide access goal.


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