DSLexpansion to benefit Bennington County

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Saturday, July 12
BENNINGTON — A recently announced expansion of digital subscriber line (DSL) service by Fairpoint Communications will affect a large swath of Bennington County.

The expansion will mean an increase in DSL access in Bennington, East Dorset, Manchester, North Bennington, Pownal, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Winhall, Woodford and Stratton Mountain. The expansion will affect all 14 counties in the state.

The company, which took over Verizon's land lines as part of a $2.3 billion deal in March, said Wednesday it's on track to increase access to high-speed Internet service to 75 percent of its lines by year's end.

Fairpoint spokeswoman Beth Fastiggi said that the company has a sincere desire to expand the Internet services it offers Vermont customers.

"Fairpoint's very interested in this market," Fastiggi said. "It wants to bring broadband Internet out to the smaller parts of the state."

According to Fastiggi, the company is excited about moving forward.

"We have a lot planned for Pownal," Fastiggi said. "We've never had anything in that town before."

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Fastiggi said that the expansion is part of a series of benchmarks.

"By 2010, we hope to have at least 80 percent of households in the state with DSL access," Fastiggi said. "We hope to have every customer in half of our exchanges to have access by 2010 as well."

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According to Fastiggi, though, the expansion does not mean that every house in these towns will receive access to the service.

"We're doing certain areas in each town — nothing we're doing encompasses the entire town," Fastiggi said. "I don't want to say we're expanding bit by bit, but we are moving neighborhood by neighborhood."

According to Fastiggi, part of the work described in the expansion had already been done. She said that around 900 new lines had been given access through work done this year.

Fastiggi said that it was hard to tell how many households in total would be included the expansion.

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"The typical way we do this is, once we add the equipment, we see how many customers are affected when we turn it on," Fastiggi said.

Fastiggi said that the company is building this network with an eye toward the future.

"The current expansion is all using DSL," Fastiggi said. "The network we're building is capable of being upgraded. It can use the higher-speed DSL service, and can use fiber."

Fastiggi said that Fairpoint, as part of the purchase from Verizon, acquired that company's fiber optic assets in the state as well.

Fairpoint's DSL service starts at $17.99 per month.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.


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