Town Meeting voters in more than 20 towns, from Montpelier
to Windsor, gave overwhelming
support to the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network (ECFiber) on
Tuesday. The broadband project is a
subscriber-based service that would be supported by residents and the
non-profit ISP ValleyNet. The network
would offer high-speed internet, telephone, and cable services. We talk with ECFiber Chairman ,Tim Nulty, and Vermont Telecommunications Authority Executive Director, Bill Shuttleworth– as we look at the next step for these towns, and
what their approval means for other broadband projects across the state. (Listen)
And, as ski areas in Vermont
have begun to offer world class restaurants, spas, and resorts in addition to
their slopes, we talk with one man who longs to revive the days of the mom and
pop ski areas. Jeremy Davis is the
founder of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, and he’s working to re-open
some of the state’s ski areas of yesteryear. (Listen)
Also, as part of our ongoing series of town postcards,
we visit Shaftsbury. (Listen)
Email from Lauren in Craftsbury–
I live in Craftsbury, where we received a grant to bring wireless
broadband to the area. We did preregistration well before the plan went
forward. We now have our wireless broadband through Great Auk Wireless. They have since come and updated the system. We are thrilled to have access. Living rurally, we need as many ways as possible to stay connected to the world, and the wireless broadband is one of the ways we can do that. I use it to stay connected with family and friends. I use it to find answers to the questions my kids ask. I use it a lot!!! We all deserve that opportunity.
We passed along listeners’ emails to representatives from ECFiber, and received the following responses:
Email from Terry–
How does EC fiber anticipate they will be able to do with potential
customers who already have DSL, satellite or other "broadband" Internet
access? Will the experience in Burlington, vis-a-vis perceived
competition, apply to the proposed EC network?
Response from ECFiber– Customers who already have service are free to keep the service they
currently have. The experience in Burlington and other municipalities around
the country that have build similar systems strongly suggests that a
significant number will recognize that the new network offers services which
are substantially better while also being substantially cheaper–and switch
Email from CJ–
If these networks were sewer systems, we would automatically be wondering
about the sprawl impact of providing utility services in the rural areas
of the state.
Who has studied the sprawl impact providing "broadband" in rural areas?
What are the results?
Response from ECFiber– No estimate has been made, nor would we know how to do one, since other
factors, such as zoning regulations, seem to have the greatest impact. This
project is being designed to serve existing residences and businesses and is
not connected to any development projects.
Email from Chris–
Is there some way for individuals to participate in the financing of
If so, what sort of return on investment could one anticipate?
Response from ECFiber– This is a town-based project, and the return-on-investment will go to the
towns and to the lender. There is no opportunity for private investment,
unless you bid on the capital lease.