September 23, 2013
Sleepy Vermont County Getting Speedy Internet
By Christopher Mohr
TMCnet Contributing Writer
Installation of the Orange (News - Alert) County Fiber Connector (OCFC) in Vermont is nearing completion with a total of 32 miles of the 36-mile route hung on utility poles so far. Seven miles of the route are actively in service, bringing broadband to areas that were previously underserved. The OCFC is expected to be complete and certified for commercial use in the fourth quarter of this year.
Located midway up the state and adjacent to New Hampshire, Orange County has a population slightly below 30,000. Vermont is not known for heavily populated centers as its largest city, Burlington, has a population of 42,000.
The state agency largely responsible for the installation of fiber optics throughout the state is the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA). Created in 2007 by the state legislature, VTA’s mission in a nutshell is to see that telecommunications is made available throughout the state and upgraded as often as possible. OCFC is one of the projects that VTA funded.
Funding for VTA comes from a combination of state and federal appropriations. At the federal level, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program, the USDA’s Broadband Initiatives Program and the FCC’s (News - Alert) Connect America and Mobility funds have provided funding for VTA.
So far the VTA seems to have done a pretty good job of sticking to its mission. It is overseeing the installation of several projects, not just OCFC. Through one of its websites, BroadbandVT.org, the public can see what is going on with broadband and what service is available in their area. If the VTA had not been created, the state would have lagged far behind its neighbors in technology. Education, commerce and quality of life would have suffered as a result.
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