A total of 270 homes and businesses will be hooked up to FairPoint’s new fiber-based broadband network. Along with Whitingham and Wilmington, Townshend and Newfane will also benefit from the expansion, which will cover 12 roads in Newfane, and 14 in Townshend.
In Wilmington, expansion will cover roads along Route 100 on the south and east sides of town and will include Boyd Hill Road, Dix Road, Green Road, Minor Road, Old Mill Lane, Radar Road, Riley Boyd Road, Tobler Trail, and Wimmelman Hill Road. In Whitingham, coverage will focus on and around Wilmington Cross Road. A total of nine roads will be impacted, including Bear Lane, Chase Hill Road, Corse Road, East Road, Faulkner Road, Fuller Hill Road, Murdock Lane, South Ryder Pond Road, and Wilmington Cross Road.
According to a company press release, the expansions in Whitingham, Newfane, and Townshend were funded by the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which focuses on the expansion of broadband to 18 million Americans living in rural areas, who currently have no access. With broadband continuing to become a necessity rather than a luxury, the CAF was created to help economic growth in rural America, and in turn expand the online marketplace.
Wilmington’s broadband expansion was funded by a grant from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, which also funded the expansion of the downtown Wi-Fi zone.
“I believe it’s important for every home to have access to faster speed Internet,” said Wilmington economic development specialist Gretchen Havreluk. “It’s especially important for students, including potential college students, as well as businesses and second-home owners, who might stay longer if they had better access.”
Along with expanding broadband, Havreluk has been working with the VTA in an effort to establish a business broadband improvement district on Higley Hill Road and Haynes Road, where many home businesses are located. While this project is waiting for funding, VTA Broadband Outreach Coordinator Caro Thompson said that the project would only be funded if the VTA qualifies the project within the specific funding parameters of the program. These parameters include an employer of significance to the local economy, an area of tourism activity of significance to the local economy, or an area of a town containing three or more small or home-based businesses with a demonstrated intent to purchase upgraded Internet service.