Vermont's broadband, wireless expansion plan met with elation and protest

Vermont's Senate has proposed an ambitious bill to expand broadband services and wireless coverage throughout the state by 2013, but critics are concerned that the bill does not go far enough.

Although the effort to expand has been in the works since 2007, Sen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans), chairman of the state Senate Economic Development Committee, said what is driving them to make a move is the $174 million in federal stimulus funds it received and $40 million raised through bond sales to help drive new telecom projects.

"In 2007, the industry brought to our attention the almost insurmountable hurdles in deploying the infrastructure necessary to bring our state up to par with many of the other states that already were enjoying robust broadband and cell phone coverage," Illuzzi told his Senate colleagues.

The Senate's bill may have great intentions, but critics like State Sen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) believe it's nothing more than effort to supply the state's major telcos public money and the money that has been spent so far has been to expand broadband services in areas where broadband services are already available.  

In addition to driving faster upload speeds, MacDonald thinks any telco that gets any broadband project funds should be open access networks that will let other competitive ISPs and CLECs leverage the network to deliver services to consumers and businesses.

For more:
- The Brattleboro Reformer via AP has this article

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