Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced that the responsibilities of Connect Vermont, the temporary office created to expand high-speed broadband internet access statewide by the end of 2013, will be transferred to the Agency of Commerce & Community Development, under Secretary Lawrence Miller. Progress to achieve that goal is well underway. Transferring this responsibility to the Agency will ensure that the administration continues, as well. The Commerce Agency will track progress and assist providers as they continue to bring broadband service to every last mile.
“It absolutely remains a top priority of mine to ensure that broadband reaches every Vermonter,” the Governor said. “We have made incredible progress and we don’t want to lose any momentum, which is why I have asked the Agency of Commerce to assume this important role.”
Miller agreed, adding, “Taking on the responsibilities of Connect Vermont is a natural fit for this Agency. The availability of broadband and cell coverage is extremely important to the Vermont business community and also critical for our tourism and community development missions. I am grateful that Kiersten Bourgeois has agreed to take this on as her primary responsibility. Kiersten has exceptional record getting challenging projects across the finish line and has my complete confidence.”
“Bourgeois is Senior Project Manager at the agency. She will also serve on the Vermont Telecommunications Authority as a designee for Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding.
When he entered office, Gov. Shumlin pledged to finally bring high-speed broadband service to every corner of Vermont by the end of 2013. With the plan for accomplishing that goal in place, as well as the recent resignation of the chief of Connect Vermont, the Administration has taken the opportunity to move oversight of the mission to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Vermont’s high-speed broadband network has expanded to reach an estimated 282,000 locations since 2010, is poised to connect to another 12,500 in the coming months, and plans are in place to build service to every household and business in Vermont by the end of 2013. The Governor noted that the average speed of connection has increased in Vermont from 5.5 megabits per second (mbps) to 9 mbps, ranking Vermont 4th in the U.S. for average speed of connection.