KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
POWNAL -- People without access to high-speed Internet access in Pownal and Shaftsbury are one step closer to getting it, now that a grant has been awarded to a cable service provider to run lines out to "the last mile."
The grant is for $247,000 and was awarded to Comcast by the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA).
Deborah Shannon, of the VTA, said Friday a request for proposals had been sent out to extend high-speed Internet access to unserved areas by the end of 2013. Many companies responded, she said, and Comcast was chosen based on its ability to complete the project at a reasonable cost and within a deadline.
She said the project will consist of running cable along existing utility poles. Construction of service hubs will not be needed. Shannon said a contract between the VTA and Comcast still needs to be drafted and signed, and there is currently no set time table on when the work will begin or when exactly it will be completed. Money for the grant, and others like it, was allocated by the Legislature in this year's budget as part of an effort, called Connect VT, to have the entire state covered by high-speed Internet access.
She said customers will be able to purchase up to 100 Mbps, which is enough for most Internet applications including uninterrupted video and music streaming. The purchase options are tiered, so people can buy whatever amount suits their needs.
According to Mary McLaughlin, senior vice president of Comcast's Western New England Region, in addition to Internet, the project allows access to the company's other cable television services.
In Pownal, the roads intended to be served are Atwood, Brookman, Cedar Hill, Crow Hill, Lavino, Lincoln, Mann Hill North, Mann Hill South, Mason Hill North, Montgomery, Nicholas, Owl Hill, Route 346, Sweet, Welch, Woods, and White Oaks.
In Shaftsbury, the roads are Ehrich, Horton Hill, Lawrence, Mattison, Myers, Nicolle's Way, and Rollin.
The grant also pays for Fowler Road in Braintree.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr