The DPS publishes the final version of the ten-year telecom plan

The 10-year plan was developed in partnership with CTC Energy and Technology and Rural Innovations Strategies, Inc.

The 365-page plan provides an overview of the current state of telecommunications services and facilities in the state, current trends in use and adoption, and recommendations for improving access to services across the board. strip throughout Vermont.

Specifically, the plan provides a roadmap for achieving the state’s most urgent telecommunications and broadband goals, including:

  • Bring every currently unserved and underserved home access in Vermont to 100/100 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband which can be scaled to faster speeds depending on demand;
  • Leverage residential fiber deployments for better mobile voice coverage along major roads and in small communities;
  • Ensure that telecommunications systems are resilient, redundant, secure and scalable for business, consumer and public security needs;
  • Facilitate competition and the choice of several Internet service providers in the majority of state premises;
  • Promote local input and oversight in guiding the future use of publicly funded broadband infrastructure through empowered regional Communications Union Districts (CUDs); and
  • Leveraging the expansion of fiber broadband to ensure public safety has access to reliable and redundant communication capacity.

Communications Union District Coverage

In 2015, the Vermont legislature authorized the formation of Communications Union Districts (CUD), 22 allowing two or more cities to come together to provide communications infrastructure to residents.

Much like a water and sewer or solid waste district, CUDs allow cities to pool demand for a service and find efficiency by sharing the operation of the district.

CUDs are essential entities in bridging the digital divide in Vermont.

The state has promoted and supported CUD as a mechanism for expanding broadband across the state in more rural areas; The infrastructure that the state has built around CUDs and the progress made by CUDs clearly show that CUDs will continue to play an important role in the state’s telecommunications landscape.

The Central East Vermont Telecommunications District (ECFiber) became Vermont’s first operational CUD in 2016 and has since served as a model for other areas of Vermont seeking to meet the growing needs of unserved or underserved areas.

In 2018, for example, 12 municipalities in central Vermont followed ECFiber’s lead to form CVFiber.

In mid-2019, 27 cities in the northeastern Vermont region voted to form NEK Broadband, which now covers 48 towns and villages and is the state’s largest CUD.

An increasing number of municipalities across the state have chosen to join or form a CUD over the past six years. In total, nine districts representing 186 of Vermont’s 246 cities were formed, 24 as shown in the following table.

The legislature has allocated $ 150 million for broadband in the 2022 state budget. Much of this is intended to expand CUDs.

Coverage along traffic corridors and roads

To complement the drive test coverage data collected by the PSD, additional analysis was performed on mobile voice and data coverage along Vermont roads using propagation analysis.

In order to perform this analysis, road axis data was retrieved from the State of Vermont website. The centerline data was then categorized into road types to match general road statistics from the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

As this classification was not publicly available, a Vermont Center for Geographic Information lookup table was provided via email along with a general description of how the Office of Transportation’s general traffic statistics were created.

Next, road polylines were intersected with cellular signal polygons generated from the RF propagation analysis, identifying areas that the analysis planned to be covered by indoor and outdoor use, as well as road sections. , by type, which were in the areas of mobile voice and data coverage.

The analysis reinforces the need for increased coverage along the routes.

According to our propagation analysis, only just over half (55%) of roads in Vermont, of all road types, currently have mobile voice and data coverage (again, this number does not include roads potentially covered by towers located on either side of the States).

For complete results by road type, see the following table.

Total road miles

Percentage of total road miles in the state

Miles Not Covered by mobile voice and data service

Miles Covered via the mobile voice and data service

Percent

Covered by mobile voice and data service

Class 1 roads

139.8

0.9%

11.3

128.4

91.9%

Class 2 roads

2791.0

17.1%

1,206.2

1,584.8

56.8%

Class 3 roads

8 535.8

52.3%

3,742.6

4,793.1

56.2%

Class 4 roads

1,594.6

9.8%

948.3

646.3

40.5%

Highway

2 708.8

16.6%

1095.8

1613.0

59.5%

Legal trails

536.7

3.3%

309.2

227.5

42.4%

Total

16,306.8

100.0%

7 313.4

8,993.3

55.2%

Class 1 roads are an extension of national highways that cross towns. Class 4 roads are not maintained but are open to the public.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments on the Plan.

The ministry held four public hearings on the final draft and with members of the Vermont General Assembly in June

Members of the public were also allowed to submit written comments to the Ministry.

The project can be viewed on the ministry’s website: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/10-year-telecommunications-plan.

About Geraldine Higgins

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