MONTPELIER (AP) -- A decision to fold a state office dedicated to expanding broadband Internet services to the most remote parts of Vermont into the Agency of Commerce and Community Development was made after the head of the office decided to take a job with one of the state’s telecommunications companies, the head of that agency said Tuesday.
Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller said the decision to have his agency assume the duties of Connect Vermont would likely have taken place anyway, but it didn’t make sense to hire another person to lead the office after Karen Marshall decided to go work for the data network of the Springfield-based telecommunications company known as VTel.
"When the administration looked at the status of all the projects, so much is on track, refilling Karen’s position just didn’t make sense," Miller said Tuesday. "It would have come over to us in time. This isn’t a snap judgment."
Miller said it made the most sense for his agency to assume the duties off Connect Vermont and his office will track progress and assist providers as they continue to bring broadband service to corner of the state.
Gov. Peter Shumlin has committed the state to expanding broadband coverage to every corner of Vermont by the end of this year and making that happen had been the responsibility of Connect Vermont. He’s also pushing for the expansion of mobile communications, but has said it would be possible to cover the entire state by the end of the year.
Commerce Agency Senior Project Manager Kiersten Bourgeois will become responsible for the broadband expansion.