We want a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the select few. High-speed broadband internet service is part of the House’s strategy to ensure residents in all corners of our state can access the commerce and resources available on the web.
Our last three governors have promised statewide broadband access. Vermont has a statutory goal of ensuring that “by the end of the year 2024, every [address] has … Internet access with service that has a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps and is symmetrical.” But today, 25% of Vermont households still have slower than adequate internet connections, and 5% lack even basic service. This year, the House Energy & Technology Committee has given priority to increasing access to high-speed broadband internet service.
State funding of last-mile service is prohibitively expensive, and may in fact be undesirable. Different communities may need different solutions. For example, some may opt for blanket wireless coverage while others may want fiber-optic cable wired to each address. The House is developing a broadband connectivity bill that will empower communities to determine the solution most suited to their area, and to begin to implement that solution. Initially the focus is on facilitating wired solutions through the following mechanisms:● providing funding for towns to determine the feasibility of forming communications union districts (CUDs) to build broadband networks;
● creating a position at the Department of Public Service to support new CUDs
● funding connectivity grants and a loan fund at Vermont Economic Development Authority to support newly formed CUDs to start build out of their networks.