Vermont works to advance statewide broadband access

The Vermont Senate is working to advance broadband in the state with new legislation. The bill would fulfill a long standing goal of making broadband internet and cellular phone service available statewide and would begin looking at ways to upgrade the state’s electrical grid through smart grid technology. The state laid out these initiatives four years ago but hadn’t been able to move forward until the federal government provided funding through the stimulus package.

Under the terms of the bill the state would simplify its permitting process for cellular antennas as a means of encouraging wireless deployments. Cellular antennas are important for Vermont where the mountains require signals to be placed at higher elevations in order to reach people effectively.

So far the state has almost $300 million in funds waiting to be used for these projects in a combination of federal grants, bond issues and state allocations. The state will lose access to federal grant money soon, however if movement isn’t made toward starting these projects.

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