The vast vistas and rolling hills of the Green Mountains are considered by many one of Vermont's greatest assets, but they're also the state's greatest obstacle.
"We're behind Bosnia, we're behind Croatia, we're behind Vietnam and we're behind most of the 49 states," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Shumlin is talking about what he calls a connectivity deficit. Wednesday he promised to bring Vermont up to speed with statewide broadband service.
"We are bound and determined to make the 2013 deadline and we will-- December 31, 2013," Shumlin said.
A new tower in Plainfield connects another 4,000 potential broadband customers. The Plainfield project alone cost $500,000, it includes a $240,000 federal grant to the Vermont Telecommunications Authority. By the end of 2013 Shumlin says the price tag for broadband will be upward of $410 million. The price has proven to be a hurdle to progress.
"Rural Vermont is in jeopardy. The most isolated places have lost youth, they've lost entrepreneurial energy," said Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development.
Connectivity is a promise Vermonters have heard time and again, first by the Douglas administration, that broadband would be delivered by the year 2010. Currently 20,000 Vermonters remain unserved statewide.
"If you're that last guy at the end of the dirt road you're saying 'how am I going to stay here? How can I work from home?' There's still a lot of frustration," Costello said.
Costello says it's the same predicament Vermont faced in the 1930s when businesses were reluctant to provide electricity to rural areas of Vermont. He says he's pleased the state is making this a priority.
"We're coming from a place of strength on this and we've got to take it to the next level and seize every opportunity by we should do so with confidence," Costello said.
Hoping to close the digital divide that lies in the peaks and valleys of rural Vermont.
Lawmakers say legislation that streamlines the environmental permitting process helped speed up building this tower in Plainfield, without which the town would have had to apply for a rezoning permit which could take up to a full year.
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-08 01:43:53 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-08 01:38:15 GMT
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork. Emily Lyman died of Leukemia at just fifteen years old, in December of last year. Now, her mother, Monica Lyman, is holdingMore >>
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM EST2013-12-08 01:17:57 GMT
There's still plenty of time to check off gifts on that Christmas list. The 21st Annual Vermont International Festival has something for everyone. The event began at the Champlain Valley Exposition asMore >>
Shoppers could find everything from Yoga mats from South America to jewelry from Tibet.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:11 PM EST2013-12-08 01:11:52 GMT
It's out with the old and in with the new. A new ice skating rink in Stowe has replaced the old Jackson Arena. Saturday, the town welcomed skaters to take a spin on the ice at the new arena's grand opening. TheMore >>
The new skating rink will also offer a learn to skate program and hockey initiation programs for all ages.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-08 01:05:37 GMT
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013. ART HOP The South End Arts & Business Association is holding its 6th Annual South End Holiday sHOP event on December 6-8, 2013.More >>
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:00 PM EST2013-12-08 01:00:24 GMT
Police are looking for this man who they say fulfilled his holiday wish list by taking what he wanted - and going on his merry way without paying. The surveillance video shows the suspect stealing expensiveMore >>
Police are looking for a man who they say fulfilled his holiday wish list by taking what he wanted.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:54 PM EST2013-12-08 00:54:07 GMT
Turning a car dealership into a venue to adopt cats and dogs. The adoption event - at the Subaru Dealership in South Burlington - was put on with help from the American Society for the Prevention of CrueltyMore >>
Animals from the Humane Society of Chittenden County found new homes on Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:49 PM EST2013-12-08 00:49:03 GMT
Sue Boucher and her family have made "A Very Merry Middlebury" their family tradition. "We've been coming down for probably 10 years now," says Sue Boucher of South Burlington. A Very Merry MiddleburyMore >>
Put together by the Better Middlebury Partnership - to promote a fun and booming Middlebury.More >>