After conquering broadband, Vermont focuses on mobile

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin set an ambitious goal for his state – 100% broadband coverage by 2013. The state is close to meeting that goal with over 90% wired for access. Now, officials are allocating capital and resources to improve mobile and wireless access points statewide.

Last year, Vermont lawmakers passed a $10 million appropriation to facilitate advances in wireless technology that will expand both mobile and broadband access points. The state also received $150 million in stimulus funds for its broadband project. So far over 1,500 miles of fiber has been installed through the project.

Private investors are also contributing to the build-out providing a total capital investment of over $400 million. Additional projects include work on the state’s smart grid system. According to a story in the VTDigger, FairPoint Communication, one of the lead contractors on the expansion has spent $61 million to lay 1,100 miles of fiber and provide 24,000 new DSL broadband connections in the state.

88% of Vermont has reliable mobile services. Service providers have noted that the state’s hilly geography can create challenges for providing a reliable signal. The state is working with providers to overcome this by expanding traditional forms of coverage as well as new forms of signal expansion by utilizing utility poles and other public structures to house signal boosters.