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‘Last-mile’ broadband Internet service projects move forward

BRATTLEBORO—Several “last mile” projects are in progress to provide high-speed Internet to previous un-served addresses in Windham County.

According to the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, FairPoint Communications received funding to provide broadband Internet service to addresses along all or part of 11 roads in Brattleboro and Wilmington.

Funding to Southern Vermont Cable (SVC) has extended access to its Internet service on all or part of two roads in Newfane, one in Putney, and in parts of Dummerston.

The FairPoint and SVC projects should be completed later this summer.

Meanwhile, the VTA is continuing its push to create local Wi-Fi zones through its Business Broadband Improvement Districts. They are designed to provide a free and nearly continuous Internet connection throughout town centers, rather than simply within an individual business space.

In Windham County, free Wi-Fi zones have been created in the village centers of Dover, Halifax, Marlboro, Newfane, and Wilmington.

As for broader access to wireless internet, VTel Wireless recently announced an agreement with Sprint to collaborate on an enhanced 4G/LTE service.

VTel Wireless says that by working together with Sprint, using Sprint’s technology and devices, it expects to soon offer speeds of more than 100 megabits per second for both fixed wireless broadband and mobile phone service.

VTel and Sprint plan to roll out the enhanced service at VTel Wireless’ upcoming ribbon cutting ceremony in Hardwick on July 1, where the company will celebrate the official launch of its wireless network.

This high-speed service is expected to become available in Windham County later this year, with parts of Athens, Dover, Dummerston, Grafton, Halifax, Marlboro, Rockingham, Townshend, and Whitingham all in VTel Wireless target areas as part of the company’s Wireless Open World initiative.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #260 (Wednesday, June 25, 2014). This story appeared on page A1.

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