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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Broadband "Music"

Psdobrien The Douglas administration's top telecommunications official - Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien  of Stowe Village - met with House Speaker Gaye Symington Thursday and the topic was broadband, or rather the lack of broadband internet service and cell phone service in many parts of Vermont.

Afterward, Dave the Commissioner told yours truly the meeting went well. He said Speaker Gaye understands the issue. Access to broadband and reliable cell phone coverage, O'Brien acknowledged, remains a problem in many parts of Vermont - even in parts of populous Chittenden County. Said the Commissioner:

"In Orange County, 40 percent of the people have access to broadband. That's just unacceptable. What's tricky is if you go to a place where they have 80 or 90 percent, that doesn't tell the whole story and the Speaker well understands that.

"There's a population center like Burlington, and then you get outside of Burlington, as long as Burlington's covered, the numbers come up high. But as soon as you go outside that core, people aren't being served."

Speaker Symington, a Jericho resident who does get broadband at her home, told "Freyne Land" if we want to build a vibrant state for the next generation, having access to broadband and cell phone coverage is critical:

Symington "Most of my constituents do not have access to broadband. Just last week, I had a call from a constituent saying he had two tenants who turned down the apartment because there is no access to broadband. It's a constant issue.  It was the issue I heard the most about going around my district....

"It’s clear now, that waiting for the private sector to focus on Vermont and hook us all up to broadband is simply not a viable option."

The Speaker said the state should look at what the City of Burlington is currently doing  - steadily proceeding to lay fiber to every door in the city (Burlington Telecom) providing broadband, telephone and cable TV service:

"We're dealing with something that's on the scale of rural electrification. There's going to have to be some creative thinking here that goes beyond just tax incentives and waiting around for the private sector."

Symington said she is "curious" to see what the Douglas administration puts forward in terms of a plan when the legislature gets down to business in January.


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Instead of wasting money on the Circ. we should be building a statewide broadband network, same as what Burlington is doing. It would do alot more for the VT economy and job creation than the Circ. would (and I suspect Burlington Telecom will do more for the Burlington economy than the Champlain Pkwy. would), and it would also be a great way for VT to fight for net neutrality. Just as VT would have been foolish, economically, to not build the interate highways in the 70's we have been foolish to not build a complete broadband internet infrastructure in the 90's. It is high time we stop waiting for the free market to build it for us. (Curious why a locally owned, relatively small company, Champlain Valley Telecom / Green Mountain Access, can provide broadband to 95% of their customers but Verizon can't.)

RH factor

I agree completely. As someone who gets his information from the internet(s) I would hope that the legislature and the governor think big.

It would do wonders if it was an infrastructure...

This is where we are going. As one who lives on the web downloading large volumes of graphics for my work, living - by choice out in the boonies, I support and cheaper alternative to the availalble satellite.

For me the net is zippy through 2 PM then it crawls thereafter making my work day a hell of a lot longer. It can drive you insane! We need better bandwidth it is pure economics

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