MONTPELIER — The state of Vermont is dissolving the state office responsible for expanding broadband computer access in the state by moving those responsibilities into the Agency of Commerce and Community Affairs.
The role of the office called Connect Vermont had been to create and expand high-speed broadband access statewide by the end of this year.
The office of Gov. Peter Shumlin says the commerce agency will continue the efforts to expand broadband services and monitor the progress while assisting service providers.
Shumlin says expanding broadband services remains one of his top priorities.
The changes follow the resignation of former Connect Vermont chief Karen Marshall, who left her post in state government earlier this month to become the president of the VTel Data Network.
BURLINGTON — Congressman Peter Welch plans to discuss energy efficiency priorities he will pursue in Congress as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Welch will hold a press conference in Rutland on Monday to talk about his plans.
The Democratic congressman says he recently started a bipartisan caucus to build support in Congress for energy efficiency.
He also plans to hold other events in Vermont this week on health care and telecommunications legislative priorities.
SOUTH BURLINGTON — FairPoint Communications has announced that eight Vermont communities now have faster broadband Internet service.
FairPoint has upgraded its network in Marshfield, Cabot, Groton, Peacham, Montgomery, Isle La Motte, Alburgh and West Newbury. Data can now travel at speeds up to 15 megabits per second in those areas, according to a company news release.
From Steve Zind and Vermont Public Radio:
There are an estimated four thousand sites in Vermont that are considered ‘brownfields’.
They range from old gas stations to closed down mills and factories.
Developing these properties is complicated by concerns about contaminants in the air, soil or water.
At a meeting last week sponsored by the Vermont Environmental Consortium, there was a lot of talk about how developing brownfield sites is a team sport…
Read the rest of the story, and listen to the audio clip at vpr.net by clicking here.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is going to be talking about the benefits of “smart grid” technology for the state of Vermont.
Sanders plans to discuss the issue Monday with some of Vermont’s environmental leaders in Burlington.
He says Vermont is a leader in the nation on development of a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system that promotes renewable energy sources and saves money.
The head of the Vermont Electric Cooperative will share what his utility learned through its almost universal roll-out of smart grid technology. Proponents say smart grid technology can help consumers and utilities better manage electric use, saving power and money.
CHELSEA — More residents of rural east-central Vermont will be able to use high-speed Internet service, thanks to $1.3 million in investments so far this year by ECFiber.
The money is being used to extend ECFiber’s fiber-optic network to areas of Chelsea, Vershire, Thetford, Norwich, Tunbridge and Strafford that currently don’t have broadband Internet service.
ECFiber is raising money from local investors for its network, with people able to buy in for as little as $2,500 dollars. No public money has been used in the project so far.
The 23-town consortium says it’s building out first where it’s able to reach the largest number of people. So far ECFiber’s service has reached parts of Bethel, Royalton, Barnard and Pomfret, with construction on-going.
BETHEL — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says cellular telephone service is going to be getting better near the intersections of Vermont routes 12 and 107 in Bethel.
On Wednesday Shumlin and representatives of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority helped break ground on construction of a new 120-foot communications tower
The telecommunications authority is working with AT&T to erect the Bethel tower.
When the tower is completed it will provide cellular telephone and data services in what had been identified as one of many “drop zones” the state is working to eliminate.
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Telecommunications Authority has announced a $378,200 grant award to Topsham Communications to deploy fiber optic cable and bring broadband Internet access to parts of Topsham and Bradford.
Officials say that by the end of next year, newly added customers will have access to the Internet at twice the speed the grant program required.
Karen Marshall, chief of Connect VT, says the announcement is the first of several similar grant awards to be made in the coming months.
She says it’s part of the overall effort to get broadband Internet access to rural parts of the state.
EAST DOVER — About 400 customers of FairPoint Communications in the Vermont community of East Dover now have access to high-speed Internet.
FairPoint says it worked with town officials to expand high-speed access to the rural, east side of the southeastern Vermont mountain town.
The company says it now provides high-speed broadband Internet access to nearly 90 percent of its Vermont customers.
FairPoint’s Vermont President Mike Smith says the town’s support for the project “is a shot in the arm for economic development in the area.”
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) The City Council in South Burlington is meeting tonight to discuss basing military fight jets at Burlington International Airport.
The Air Force has proposed locating the new F-35 jet fighters at the airport, with Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden, Utah, also under consideration.
Monday night’s meeting comes a week after a public hearing was held on the proposal. An environmental impact statement indicated that noise from the jet would be greater than from the F-16 jets now flown by the Vermont National Guard.
The Air Force is expected to make its decision by the end of the year.