FairPoint plans to enable 19 Vt. towns with broadband DSL service

FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) has allocated $6.6 million to extend broadband DSL service to 19 rural communities in Vermont.

Among the unserved portions that will be targeted by this latest build are: Bethel, Bradford, Brownington, Chelsea, Corinth, Dummerston, Eden, Fairlee, Guilford, Johnson, Pittsfield, Readsboro, Thetford, Vershire, Washington, West Fairlee and Weston.  

Upon completion the service provider said 3,200 of its phone service subscribers in Vermont will be able to have a DSL connection, with 70 percent of that group being able to access speeds of 7 Mbps or higher. Of course, the reality is that actual delivered speeds will depend on how far they are from the Central Office (CO).

Mike Smith, FairPoint state president for Vermont, said in order to support its broadband roll out in Vermont it "has connected more Vermonters to broadband, spending nearly $90 million and adding more than 1,100 miles of new fiber."

This new build is part of an agreement the telco reached with the Vermont Public Service Board that allows it to redirect penalties assessed from 2008, 2009 and 2010 towards investing in expanding availability of broadband service in the state.  

Last July, the telco said it had reached about 90 percent broadband penetration to its telephone customers in Vermont, and that it offers broadband service to over 83 percent of its telephone customers in Maine and over 85 percent in New Hampshire.

However, some residents in their Vermont footprint remain skeptical of FairPoint's move. One reader on WCAX-TV's website in Burlington, Vt. believes that users won't get anywhere near a 1 Mbps connection never mind 7 Mbps.  

"Do you know what the state's definition of broadband is? It is 760 Kbps download and 200 Kbps upload," the reader commented. "Yes that's a 'k.' If you want to talk Megabits that is: .760mps and .200mps. You may not see it but there is a decimal point in front of these last 2 numbers. And guess what speed your DSL is going to work? It's hardly worth upgrading to these rates in this day and age."

For more:
- see the release
- WCAX News has this article

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