MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state is investing $5 million to improve cellphone service in 21 southern areas and is on track to provide access to high-speed Internet service everywhere by the end of next year, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Friday.
The Vermont Telecommunications Authority, whose missions include securing access to affordable broadband services for all homes and businesses in the state and making sure its telecommunications infrastructure is continuously upgraded, has approved the grant to VTel Wireless, an affiliate of Vermont Telephone based in Springfield.
The project will use 27 of the towers or other structures that are already planned for VTel's significant broadband project and new small cell sites on utility poles that are along fiber-optic lines that VTel owns or is developing, said Christopher Campbell, executive director of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.
"This project is an important step forward toward providing cellular access across the state," Campbell said.
VTel Wireless will be starting its own retail cellular service, with roaming agreements with national carriers.
The investment for cellular equipment through VTel Wireless will fill in some of the most challenging gaps in the southern part of the state, Shumlin said.