Vermont's high-speed broadband network has expanded to reach an estimated 282,000 locations since 2010, is poised to connect to another 12,500 in the coming months, and barring any unforeseen glitches, is on track to serve every household and business in Vermont by the end of 2013. That was the word today from Gov. Peter Shumlin and Connect Vermont Chief Karen Marshall, who have worked to fulfill the Governor's goal of 100 percent high-speed connectivity by next year's end.
In addition, the average speed of connection has increased in Vermont from 5.5 megabits per second (mbps) to 9 mbps, ranking Vermont 4th in the U.S. for average speed of connection.
Marshall said there are about 500 locations, largely in remote areas of the state, that remain a challenge to connect. But, she added, the push is on to find creative solutions to bring broadband access to those locations. In addition, some areas of Vermont are already moving toward a new goal -- upgrading from high-speed service to higher-speed, next-generation internet options.
"Karen and Connect Vermont have done a remarkable job of working with telecommunications companies across the state and across the nation to ensure households and employers have the internet access they need for education, business, telecommunting, shopping and all the other things people worldwide turn to the internet for," Gov. Shumlin said. He said that while Tropical Storm Irene slowed progress in some areas, the goal of 100 percent connectivity remains on track.
According to Marshall, there were 256,343 locations with high-speed broadband access in 2010, with about 37,761 lacking service. She said that as of June, 282,066 locations were served by a high-speed provider (just over 95 percent of locations), 12,494 are in the process of receiving service (4.2 percent), and 505 remain challenges.
"At the beginning of this mission, we had a stated goal of creating a marriage between our smart grid, fixed and mobile telecommunications infrastructure, building fiber deeper into communities and expanding both broadband and cellular service," Marshall said. " In the past two years, more than $400 million of an aggregate $564 million for all of these endeavors has been deployed in Vermont, making Vermont one of the most connected places on the planet- by number and speed of connection."
She said that within the telecommunications-only sector, $248 million of the currently planned $373 million has been spent, with 2100 of our 3500 fiber miles constructed, more than 40 new cell sites built, and more than 83 percent of our connections at an average speed greater than 4 mbps.
"We are achieving what most states in the country can't even begin to envision- an integrated, collocated and ubiquitous telecommunications infrastructure that serves multiple purposes," Marshall said. "These milestones have been achieved by our telecommunications carriers and utilities in partnership with the VTA, the Administration, federal agencies, the Department of Public Service, Public Service Board, and local communities. We are creating both connections and jobs in this sector, and we look forward to meeting our end of 2013 milestones."