Broadband internet service in Brattleboro takes slow pace

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BRATTLEBORO — BroadbandNow says about 11.2 percent of consumers in Brattleboro or 1,000 people only have access to one or fewer wired internet providers.

That's "leaving them without a competitive marketplace," according to a report that says the average download speed in town is 64.26 megabits per second, which is 14 percent slower than the average in Vermont and 96.3 percent slower than the national average.

"Unfortunately the Federal Communications Commission's latest reports paint a disappointing picture of internet access in the United States," Nick Reese, cofounder of BroadbandNow, said in an email introducing a report for Brattleboro. "Twenty-four million Americans still don't have access to broadband service and millions more only have two options for service. In rural areas, download speeds are barely better than dial-up."

His group raises "public awareness" about internet access issues in the United States by making information available on its website at broadbandnow.com. It also shares reports with news groups and town or city officials.

Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell told the Reformer that town staff had not seen BroadbandNow's report for Brattleboro. It was not commissioned by the town or any other entity.

Elwell said they have heard less from the public about access or speed than the importance of net neutrality and opposition to distant corporate control.

"Last year, the Select Board asked staff to research options for providing municipal broadband service," Elwell said. "Due to a variety of more urgent matters, we have just begun to do that research but in the months ahead we expect to provide a report for review by the Select Board and the community."

BroadbandNow says data is collected from FCC datasets legally required to be submitted twice a year. Providers also give the group information to update its system.

Ana De Castro, outreach specialist for BroadbandNow, said she was not aware of any providers who were missed in the current BroadbandNow data for Brattleboro. Similar information can be found for other locations by plugging zipcodes into the group's website.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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