VT Telecom Authority Awards FTTH Grant to Topsham Communications

MONTPELIER, VT - The Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) announced a $378,200 grant award to Topsham Communications, a subsidiary of Topsham Telephone Company, Inc., which operates in East Corinth, Vt. The grant supports deployment of fiber-to-the-home infrastructure over 36 miles in portions of the nearby communities of Topsham and Bradford. By the end of 2013, an additional 138 locations will have access to broadband at speeds up to 10 Mbps - more than the grant’s minimum requirement to offer a combined upload and download speed of 5 Mbps.

“We are pleased once again to support Topsham Communications as it expands its fiber network in rural Vermont,” says VTA Executive Director Christopher Campbell. “This project will build on the success of the last fiber project built by Topsham with VTA grant assistance, in West Fairlee, which was completed in 2011.”

Topsham Communications will contribute more than $345,000 toward the project. Charlie Davenport, general manager of Topsham Telephone, explained the company’s participation this way: “We’ve been watching our neighbors try to get by without real broadband for many years. This grant gives our company the opportunity to work with the VTA to reach those neighbors and to begin creating new economic opportunities for this very rural area.”

The grant will help expand Topsham Communications’ existing fiber optic cable network to eligible locations identified in its grant application. The list of eligible locations was compiled using data that was collected from providers through Vermont’s Broadband Mapping Initiative.

The VTA grant program provides incentives to broadband providers to reach the most rural locations. Funding for the grant program was made possible by an appropriation of the legislature in the FY2012-2013 capital budget requested by Governor Peter Shumlin as part of the Connect Vermont initiative.

Karen Marshall, chief of Connect VT, comments, “It’s important to recognize that our telecommunications providers are the ones who get broadband built to homes and businesses. With this action by the VTA board, the leveraging of state capital and contribution of the company allow us to roll out solutions to bring broadband to unserved Vermonters. These are the first of many funding decisions that will be made over the coming months. We’re pleased to get these projects in the pipeline and another step closer to meeting our goal of universal broadband.”

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