Administration plans for statewide broadband service

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(Host) Public Service Department Commissioner David O’Brien says it’s critical to expand new telecommunication services, like high-speed Internet and broadband capabilities, to every part of the state in the next few years.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program O’Brien noted that, while high-speed services are available to 95 percent of all residents in Chittenden County, the same services are available to only 10 percent of the people in Essex County. O’Brien says it’s very important to change this situation to encourage economic development projects in all regions of Vermont:

(O’Brien) “There are parts of the state that are not as served. I would observe that today that’s as important as it was having a major highway network in the 50s and 60s or beyond that. I worry that if we don’t get these services broadly dispersed across the state that it’ll again define who prospers and who doesn’t.”

(Host) O’Brien says the key to expanding the state’s telecommunications infrastructure is developing different systems to fit the needs of a particular area:

(O’Brien) “It’s not going to be a ‘one size fits all.’ There are going to be cases where wireless broadband will be a good solution. It’s become a very strong solution in other rural parts of the country. Other places it might be cable. That’s why the Adelphia settlement we had last year is so important.”

(Host) O’Brien hopes that high-speed Internet access will be available in all parts of the state by 2010.

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