Sick of the empty broadband promises

We need high-speed Internet. Just be honest about when we can expect it so we can plan accordingly

HALIFAX — Many of us chose to live in Vermont because we liked the old-fashioned lifestyle: local milk from dairy farms, heating with wood, gravity-flow spring water, sugaring with horses, visiting friends, and cooking for bake sales and potluck dinners instead of watching TV all evening.

But times are changing.

Dairy farms are disappearing. Old wood-heating systems can't be used because they're not up to modern specs. Spring water is considered questionable. Sugaring is done with plastic tubing and pumps.

And everyone seems to want to stream Netflix movies with high-speed Internet.

I, too, want high-speed Internet, but not for streaming movies or playing games. I write about diabetes, and I need access to science journals in order to do so.

Even if I wanted to drive 18 miles to a medical/academic library, I couldn't read the hard-copy journals, as most libraries are canceling their subscriptions to expensive journals that everyone reads online.

I need high-speed Internet, and I need to know when it will get here. If it won't arrive at my house until 2050, when I'll be dead, that's OK. I can make plans. I can move or rent an office somewhere that has broadband or change careers. At least I'll know.

Instead, the broadband providers are playing games. They keep telling us when to expect high-speed Internet, but I don't believe them.

This seems to be how they figure this the projected arrival of this technology:

1. Write down the year.

2. Add 2.

3. Say that this will be the year when broadband will arrive.

And next year, do the same thing.

Is it any wonder some of us are angry?

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The providers not only refuse to tell people when they'll be able to get service, but they blather on about what wonderful broadband service they're already providing - somewhere else. For example, at a VTel informational meeting in Marlboro on Oct. 29, VTel CEO Michel Guité said South Korea has the fastest broadband in the world and the second fastest is Vermont.

He made it sound as if Vermont has fast Internet everywhere. It doesn't. He was referring to superfast fiberoptic Internet service available only to people in VTel's telephone service area around Springfield.

It's nice that people in Springfield have superfast Internet service. But how does that help people in Halifax and Marlboro who are still limited to dial-up?

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Broadband providers, stop trying to entice us with fairy tales of wonderful service.

Stop telling us we'll get this wonderful service in two years.

Make realistic promises so we can make realistic plans.

Or maybe we should forget the Internet altogether and go back to gossiping around the wood stove in the general store while our horses and buggies wait outside.

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