Highlight challenges remaining; urge Vermonters to
report 'black holes' in the system
Vermont's high-speed broadband network has expanded to reach an
estimated 282,000 locations since 2010, is poised to connect to
another 12,500 in the coming months, and barring any unforeseen
glitches, is on track to serve every household and business in
Vermont by the end of 2013. That was the word Friday, Dec. 28, from
Gov. Peter Shumlin and Connect Vermont Chief Karen Marshall, who
have worked to fulfill the Governor's goal of 100 percent
high-speed connectivity by next year's end.
In addition, the average speed of connection has increased in
Vermont from 5.5 megabits per second (mbps) to 9 mbps, ranking
Vermont 4th in the U.S. for average speed of connection.
Marshall said there are about 500 locations, largely in remote
areas of the state, that remain a challenge to connect. But, she
added, the push is on to find creative solutions to bring broadband
access to those locations. In addition, some areas of Vermont are
already moving toward a new goal - upgrading from high-speed
service to higher-speed, next-generation internet options.
"Karen and Connect Vermont have done a remarkable job of working
with telecommunications companies across the state and across the
nation to ensure households and employers have the internet access
they need for education, business, telecommunting, shopping and all
the other things people worldwide turn to the internet for," Gov.
Shumlin said. He said that while Tropical Storm Irene slowed
progress in some areas, the goal of 100 percent connectivity
remains on track.
According to Marshall, there were 256,343 locations with
high-speed broadband access in 2010, with about 37,761 lacking
service. She said that as of June, 282,066 locations were served by
a high-speed provider (just over 95 percent of locations), 12,494
are in the process of receiving service (4.2 percent), and 505
"At the beginning of this mission, we had a stated goal of
creating a marriage between our smart grid, fixed and mobile
telecommunications infrastructure, building fiber deeper into
communities and expanding both broadband and cellular service,"
Marshall said. " In the past two years, more than $400 million of
an aggregate $564 million for all of these endeavors has been
deployed in Vermont, making Vermont one of the most connected
places on the planet- by number and speed of connection."
She said that within the telecommunications-only sector, $248
million of the currently planned $373 million has been spent, with
2100 of our 3500 fiber miles constructed, more than 40 new cell
sites built, and more than 83 percent of our connections at an
average speed greater than 4 mbps.
"We are achieving what most states in the country can't even
begin to envision- an integrated, collocated and ubiquitous
telecommunications infrastructure that serves multiple purposes,"
Marshall said. "These milestones have been achieved by our
telecommunications carriers and utilities in partnership with the
VTA, the Administration, federal agencies, the Department of Public
Service, Public Service Board, and local communities. We are
creating both connections and jobs in this sector, and we look
forward to meeting our end of 2013 milestones."