With this regular feature, the Banner runs down breaking local and regional developments in the coronavirus crisis.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, a total of 919 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the state as of Friday morning, an increase of three from Thursday. Fifty-four of those 919 cases are in Bennington County. No more Vermonters died of the disease over the past day; the total is still 53.
So far, 19,008 tests have been administered. Twenty-four people are being monitored, and 842 have completed monitoring, the state reported.
Comcast to expand service in seven Vermont communities
Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday that Comcast will begin a network expansion project this year to extend broadband service to more than 430 addresses in seven Vermont communities, including Arlington, Berlin, Derby, Newport Town, Salisbury, Sheldon and Winhall.
Comcast plans to begin rolling out services this summer and complete the project by the end of 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted just about every aspect of our lives and has shown the importance of staying connected through the internet and working to close the digital divide," Scott said in a media release. "We appreciate Comcast's partnership and commitment to bringing high-speed internet access to more underserved Vermonters and businesses."
In April, Public Service Commissioner June Tierney issued a call to action to Vermont's utilities to deliver temporary emergency support to effect internet access; in the release, she said Comcast's expansion plan and the company's efforts to support existing customers "exemplify the kind of responsiveness we were looking for."
In addition to Gigabit Internet service, this expansion will give residents access to all Xfinity services, including the Xfinity X1 video platform and Xfinity Home, Voice and Mobile. Businesses will have access to the full suite of Comcast Business products and services, including ethernet network speeds up to 100 gigabits per second. Comcast will also offer its Internet Essentials product, a comprehensive broadband adoption program, providing low-cost broadband service, digital literacy training and discounted computers, according to the release.
"We are delighted to bring our state-of-the-art products and services to more residents and businesses in Vermont and appreciate the opportunity to extend broadband services to unserved areas," said Dennis Mathew, senior vice president of Comcast's Western New England Region, in the release. "As Vermont continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, we recognize that our company plays an important role in helping residents stay connected and we appreciate the support of Governor Scott and his team, especially during this unprecedented time."