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State turns to stimulus money for Internet upgrade


Vermont's efforts to attract and retain businesses reliant on instantaneous communication weren't helped by a recent report indicating that average Internet download speeds in the state are among the pokiest in the country.

The latest edition of the annual “Speed Matters” report puts Vermont in 45th place nationally and dead last in New England. In comparative terms, the state now fares worse than a year earlier, when it was ranked 36th out of 50. “Internet download speed in Vermont has actually slowed down, even as the speeds in the rest of the nation get faster,” says the study carried out by the Communications Workers of America.

...In addition, the Vermont Council for Rural Development is seeking $2.5 million for pilot projects in 24 communities to ensure that their residents will actually be able to make use of the high-speed connections when they become available. This stimulus money would finance equipment and training in the targeted areas. Libraries, for example, would receive $600,000 of this “sustainable broadband adoption” allocation for the purchase of public-access computers.