Vermont Broadband Bill Passes

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Making molehills out of mountains, Vermont has cut down obstacles to broadband expansion by passing broadband bill H513 this week. Believing that Vermont can do a better job of bringing connectivity to its residents than either the federal government or private enterprise, state legislators took matters into their own hands, reports VTDigger.com.

The measure is designed to reach out to rural Vermont by encouraging small startup internet providers. 

Resources of  $700,000 were allocated to assist municipalities with broadband buildout. Additionally, the bill sets aside $1.5 million per year for subsidies for internet service providers as they continue to extend infrastructure into rural areas. 

Representative Laura Sibilia (I), vice chair of the Energy and Technology committee said, “This is a really a huge investment in building the capacity to get this job done.”  While Representative Tim Briglin (D), chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, agreed that rural internet in Vermont is, “not even remotely up to 21st century standards,” he also voiced his fear that excessive cost to bring broadband to everyone in Vermont may be “money that the state doesn’t have.”

Various grants and loans will be available to providers who choose to invest in Vermont.  To help coordinate efforts, a full time staff member in the Department of Public Service will be appointed to help rural communities embrace and install broadband services.   

March 29, 2019      

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