WHITINGHAM -- Verizon Wireless just signed a new roaming agreement that will give local subscribers more service in the near future.
The company entered into an agreement with CoverageCo, which currently has roaming agreements with T-Mobile, Sprint Mobile and some Canadian carriers.
"So the next three to six months is the time it will take to integrate the Verizon network and roaming technology into CoverageCo's network," said Vermont Telecommunications Authority Broadband Outreach Coordinator Caro Thompson.
According to a press release, CoverageCo was recently selected by the VTA to build and operate a cellular network in a project focused on getting more coverage along roadways with no cell service or with significant drop zones.
While the ink dries, progress continues in improving cell service on corridors around Windham County.
CoverageCo is not setting up towers or communications facilities for this project. Instead, the company is installing small units on existing utility poles on roadways.
In 2010, the VTA had conducted studies on roadways to find where there was little or no service as well as significant drop zones. Testing was done again in 2013.
"Based on those tests, we identified target corridors that are a focal point for our expansion efforts," said Thompson.
The installed units will provide service for about a half-mile radius. Any homes or businesses along roadways with the equipment will have access to the service.
Roadways or corridors in Windham County that will benefit from this expansion include Route 112 in Whitingham and Halifax; Route 8A in Halifax; Route 100 in Whitingham and Wilmington; Route 100 in Wardsboro and Jamaica; Route 30 in Newfane, Brookline and Townshend; Route 9 in Marlboro and Wilmington; and Route 103 in Rockingham.
There is no information on exact starting or stopping points for coverage currently available for this statewide project that is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
"This is a major step forward for cellular expansion," stated VTA Executive Director Christopher Campbell. "We know how important access to mobile communication is for both businesses and residents of Vermont."
Another part of this expansion project includes setting up "resilient communication sites" in towns that suffered significant damage during Tropical Storm Irene. The sites will have ongoing back-up power and satellite Internet service, a press release stated.
Halifax, Whitingham and Townshend were named as towns that would receive these sites as part of an Economic Development Administration grant.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.