Vermont's Last Miles
The goal of the VTA’s last-mile projects is to expand broadband service through the Backroads Broadband program to all unserved Vermont homes and businesses not covered by other non-VTA projects. The VTA has completed identification of these “target communities,” based on information from the Vermont Broadband Mapping Initiative. VTA has solicited proposals to fund projects in these target communities and is currently reviewing those projects. Projects to be funded under this program are expected to begin providing service in late 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Last mile projects fund the local networks that connect directly to ordinary homes and businesses (although they may also include and depend on middle-mile components that connect local broadband infrastructure in the community to the outside word.) To date, VTA has funded last mile projects primarily through state capital funding appropriated for the purpose of creating grants. There have been eight grants given, six completed projects and two projects in process, totaling $565,000. As greater capital funding has been made available, the VTA has been able to fund larger last mile projects.
Over time, there have been significant broadband expansions and pending expansions not funded by state dollars, including the regulatory requirement for FairPoint to reach 100% broadband availability in half of its telephone exchanges, and the VTel Wide Open Wireless project, funded by the Rural Utilities Service.