Broadband communications could be available in rural towns by 2009

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(Host) A broadband communications network could be available to residents of central and eastern Vermont by the end of next year.

That’s the word from organizers of an initiative known as East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network.

The network, which goes by EC Fiber, won overwhelming backing from voters in 27 towns during town meeting this week.

EC Fiber Chairman Tim Nulty says the network is trying to arrange financing for the project. He says part of winning that support is proving to lenders that there are enough customers to make the project viable.

(Nulty) "If we can come with a long list of people who pre-subscribe, that’s a strong indication to the investors that the demand is real.”

(Host) Before Town Meeting Day, more than 1,500 people had pre-subscribed to the network. Nulty says even more signed up this week.

The network is designed to provide Internet, cable and telephone service to subscribers.

Nulty says the network would serve an area of 1,200 square miles between Montpelier and White River Junction.

(Nulty) "We will serve every single person, every house, every business, every institution in our territory with a fiber that will go actually to the premise, right to the place. We are solving the last-mile solution.”

(Host) Nulty says he hopes to work out financing for the project by September and construction of the network can begin within a few months after that.

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