To the editor: Tri-Mountain Broadband invites communities to May meeting Seeks to serve under- and unserved S. Vermont towns

Our kids and small businesses can’t continue to be the last to get good, affordable and dependable broadband. Just like everyone in the more profitable, densely populated and politically connected parts of Vermont, they deserve it as soon as possible. It’s only fair.

Built from the ground up to be Vermont’s only broadband network to offer truly equal access to virtually everyone in the community and across the Communications Union District, our hybrid broadband network is designed to be quickly implemented and provide the level of performance that you, your family and your small business need, quickly and cost-effectively. Serving everyone but putting the unserved first.

Therefore, we are exploring the option of creating our 100 percent community-owned CUD, Tri-Mountain Broadband. Our proposed service area includes the towns of Peru, Manchester, Landgrove, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston, and Winhall.

Vermont’s Tri-Mountain area has various broadband options already in operation or on the way. Each has its positives and negatives. Most, including the two new CUDs, are best-suited for communities with higher population densities like Bennington or Brattleboro, which leaves us out. However, we believe a locally owned and operated hybrid system that employs an extremely high-performance fiber optic base in conjunction with fixed wireless and other emerging technologies offers the level of versatility and service you want and need.

Tri-Mountain Broadband was conceived to meet the needs of our families and small businesses, especially those unserved in remote areas like our “Last-Mile.”

Rural broadband is not one-size-fits-all. To meet the moral imperatives and goals spelled out in the latest federal and state legislation and by our president and governor’s words, internet equality and equity must become a reality, not just another unfulfilled promise; we need unique, innovative solutions!

Small communities like ours have many people and businesses that don’t have adequate broadband. What they also have is lots of remote dwellings that, by the federal definition, are either un- or under-served, hard to reach, and require innovative community-specific outside-the-box technical solutions.

Our primary providers, Consolidated & Comcast, don’t enjoy great favorability ratings and have always relegated us to the bottom of their list of installation priorities. While the new CUDs, SoVT, and DVFiber are well-intentioned, their tentative construction schedules won’t provide our area with service until at best late 2023, possibly 2025 or later. We also  question their long-term viability based on their business plans, which the state regulators endorse.

To be financially viable, any enterprise needs to have a base of profitable customers to help balance the higher cost of serving those who are more challenging. Unfortunately, the state is encouraging and effectively subsidizing large corporate providers like Consolidate Communication to “cherry-pick” the profitable low-hanging fruit while leaving the most expensive to serve as the responsibility of the government-funded CUDs.

And despite the massive federal funding, it is not providing the money they need to complete their network build-outs or ensure their long-term financial viability. We can’t allow that. Please come to our meeting and hear our proposed solutions!

Realistically, it’s hard to see a meaningful difference between their plans and what we have today. But, unfortunately, when it comes to high-quality internet service, we’ve always been the tail on the dog.

Our kids and businesses deserve state-of-the-art internet equality and a level playing field with the rest of Vermont, and the country, ASAP. So please work with us to make it a reality.

Please help by coming to our meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12 at the Winhall Community Arts Center, 3 River Road, Winhall; meet some of our legislators, including representatives from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office, and bring a friend. We welcome your thoughts, suggestions and,  most importantly, your most challenging questions.

Learn about our plans and goals for your 100 percent local  community-owned Tri-Mountain Broadband CUD, and let us earn your support. Please RSVP by email to trimountainbroadband@gmail.com or phone Fred at 802- 548-4530.

Fred Schwacke
Director
Tri-Mountain Broadband

 

 

 

 

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