Wireless Partners, a Maine-based cellular telecommunications company received a $762,000 grant to connect 823 locations in the northeastern part of Vermont to 5G cellular and broadband. The grant, announced by the Vermont Department of Public Safety, was awarded as part of the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Connectivity Initiative and Get Vermonters Connected Now Initiative.
In pursuit of its mission to bridge the rural digital divide, the state sought proposals to develop broadband networks for underserved communities. Wireless Partners, a privately funded, veteran-owned company, won the contract to build a new 5G-ready network in what Vermonters refer to as “the Northeast Kingdom.”
“COVID-19 has laid bare the lack of access to broadband in our rural communities and the resulting detriment,” stated Wireless Partners CEO Bob Parsloe. “Through efforts like the COVID-19 Emergency Connectivity Initiative and Get Vermonters Connected Now Initiative we can turn what had been a disadvantage into a strength as these towns leapfrog to the front of the 5G revolution.”
With the grant, Wireless Partners will build five new sites in the Northeast Kingdom and connect them to its existing network in New Hampshire’s North Country, which runs up to the state line along Route 3. Towers will be sited in Norton, Averill, Wenlock, Warrens Gore and Canaan. In total, the network will connect 668 locations including homes, businesses, schools, and public safety departments.
The network will offer cellular phone service, including T-Mobile, and provide fixed wireless through Consolidated Communications’ Trailrunner Wireless broadband service.