SPOTLIGHT: Vermont's telecom plan

Backed by the governor and the state legislature, the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) is getting kudos for working to extend broadband Internet access and cell phone coverage to every "corner" of the state.

Vermont's Internet connection speed is ranked 47th in the nation by PC Magazine, and only half the state has "fast" Internet access and cell phone coverage. VTA's plans to build access lines in partnership with private industry, along with smaller cell towers with cheaper transmitters. Towers would go up on state land where possible to keep down costs.

The price tag to build out a state-owned network is around $40 million. After construction it would be leased out to private providers.  VTA hopes to raise $40 million in bonds, but if that doesn't work out, the state will likely look to funding out of a federal economic stimulus package.

For more:
- Read the editorial by the Burlington Free Press.

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