Vermont Press Releases

Statement of VPIRG Communications & Technology Director Zach Tomanelli on the signing of the Broadband Bill (H.513)

News Release — VPIRG
June 21, 2019

“Today, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed into law the most significant set of policies in years to expand and improve broadband internet access throughout the state.”

“By enacting this law, Vermont’s elected officials recognize that the large telecom providers are just never going to adequately provide universal service to Vermont communities – it doesn’t add to their bottomline. Rather than depending on the Big Telecoms, this law takes the right approach by providing our communities with the resources they need to get themselves connected.”

“VPIRG believes jumpstarting community-owned broadband efforts is the key to addressing Vermont’s connectivity issues. These kinds of internet service providers don’t need to satisfy shareholders, which means they can actually focus on reaching all the locations in their communities – even the ones that aren’t profitable.”

“Community-owned networks are much more consumer-friendly than the giant telecoms. On average, they’re more affordable and provide better speeds than large telecoms while prioritizing bedrock consumer protection principles like net neutrality and user privacy.”

“This bill includes several important reforms aimed at providing a boost to local internet providers. These include:

Increased funding via grants for the initial planning stages of building a community network,
The establishment of a state revolving loan fund to provide these startups with the capital they need to start building and getting Vermonters connected, and Much-needed changes to Vermont’s pole attachment rules — making it easier for these local providers to expand the fiber networks in their communities.”

“The bill also raises the bar on the internet speeds required for projects receiving state funding – ensuring that we provide Vermonters with service that is commensurate with their needs and prevent state dollars from subsidizing the construction of outdated technology.”

“These are only initial, but significant, steps toward addressing Vermont’s connectivity issues. VPIRG hopes to work with lawmakers in the years ahead to build on these successes and move Vermont much more rapidly toward universal coverage.”

Zachary Tomanelli
Communications & Technology Director
Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)
[email protected]
Phone: 802-223-5221 ext.21
Cell: 845-234-8090

Press Release

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