Grants to help establish high-speed service in Dummerston, Wilmington
BRATTLEBORO -- The state is spending $221,397 to establish high-speed Internet service on 13 roads in Dummerston and Wilmington.
The cash, announced Monday by Vermont Telecommunications Authority, is going to Southern Vermont Cable for work in Dummerston and to FairPoint Communications for Wilmington upgrades.
It is part of a continued effort to extend broadband access into hard-to-reach areas of Vermont.
"This certainly is a help to areas that needed it desperately," said Scott Murphy, Wilmington town manager.
Gov. Peter Shumlin, now serving his second term, has made it a top political priority to spread high-speed Internet to every address in Vermont.
He had wanted that work to be finished by the end of 2013. That won't quite happen, though the governor says he's close to reaching his goal.
"I'm so pleased that we will have expanded broadband service to about 99 percent of Vermont homes and businesses by year's end, and these projects will help ensure the few remaining locations have access in the near future," Shumlin said in a prepared statement accompanying Monday's grant announcement.
Broadband expansion is happening in a variety of ways -- via traditional cable, fiber optics and even wireless connections -- and through a number of providers.
The state's telecommunications authority says it is attempting to fill "gaps" where federal and state funding and private investment have not yet spurred broadband expansion.
That applies to the projects announced Monday.
In Dummerston, Southern Vermont Cable won a $117,397 grant to extend broadband service on all or portions of nine roads -- Dutton Farm, Emery Hill, Kipling, Knapp East, Miller, Nourse Hollow, Park Laughton, Spaulding Hill and Tucker Reed.
The project will require "extensive infrastructure construction," the telecommunications authority said, and work must be finished by August 2014.
In Wilmington, FairPoint landed a $104,000 grant to extend DSL service along all or portions of Boyd Hill Road, Old Mill Lane, Rader Road and Riley Boyd Road.
That work must be done by June 30, 2014.
Murphy said the Wilmington Selectboard recently participated in a conference call with a Vermont Telecommunications Authority representative. Officials stressed the importance of bringing broadband to some less-populated areas in town.
"We had asked them to follow up on these areas," Murphy said.
He added that, "overall, I think we're pretty well covered, and these are just pockets that need to be followed up on."
Officials on Monday also announced a $46,574 grant for broadband expansion in Norwich and Randolph. All projects must meet a minimum combined download/upload speed of five megabytes per second.
The grant money was available through a legislative appropriation requested by Shumlin as part of the Connect VT initiative, officials said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.
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