Vermont's Vtel has entered the 1 Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) symmetrical speed race, serving up a $35 a month offering for rural consumer and business customers.
Made possible by $94 million in broadband stimulus grants from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the NTIA, the service provider has upgraded existing copper infrastructure that was put in place in 1890 with 1,200 miles of new fiber.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal, about 600 residents have subscribed to Vtel's 1 Gbps service. It will be available across the telco's entire footprint over the next few months.
Ultimately, VTel's FTTH network will provide 1 Gbps services to over 15,000 customers throughout southern Vermont.
Michel Guité cites Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) FTTH network project--which started in Kansas City and is now slated for Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah--as an inspiration for its project and others that want to develop their own 1 Gbps FTTH plans.
"Google has really given us more encouragement," Guite said in the Journal article.
After being initially turned down for a federal grant to fund the ambitious project in Vermont, VTel secured the funds in its second application following Google Fiber's announcement.
Vermont has never had the best broadband track record. Proving the business case for high-speed broadband has been difficult, and efforts from the state's incumbent telcos have been slow to emerge.
FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP), which acquired Verizon's legacy phone lines in 2008, has been expanding the reach of its broadband network in Vermont. Last August, it allocated $6.6 million to extend broadband DSL service to 19 rural communities in Vermont, including Chelsea and Washington. However, the 7 Mbps or higher speeds that FairPoint will deliver in those towns won't come close to what Vtel is going to offer.
- see the release
- The Wall Street Journal has this article
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