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Vt. telecom firm gets $2M to expand wireless - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. telecom firm gets $2M to expand wireless

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a $2 million federal grant to expand wireless phone service Thursday. Despite the grant, complete state coverage may never be a reality.

We've heard the governor promise time and again "every corner of this state will have complete broadband coverage by the end of 2013." Thursday, he specifically stated he'll never make that promise for cellphone coverage.

The grant money will help build VTel towers to serve VTel customers in Caledonia and Orange counties. VTel representatives say 88 percent of homes and businesses have cell service in Vermont, but many rural and undeveloped areas still don't. Gov. Shumlin says the network will be greatly improved by 2013, but to promise every rural area will have service someday is unrealistic.

"We want to do everything we can to build out the network. It's a huge challenge. Vermont is one of the more challenging areas in the world to get cell service to because we're hills and valleys and those hills block cell coverage," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Nearly $60 million have been obtained to further cellphone service expansion projects so far.

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