Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) joined Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) and representatives of the Maple Broadband Community Union District (CUD) for an on-the-ground broadband installation in Panton, Vermont, today, following the introduction of his ReConnecting Rural America Act to support broadband deployment in Vermont and across America. This week the Senator also chaired his first hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Rural Development Subcommittee, which focused on bipartisan rural broadband deployment opportunities.
“Vermonters know that, in today’s digital economy, broadband is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Sen. Welch. “WCVT and Maple Broadband are doing the hard work on the ground to get Vermonters the service they need to thrive—and they can’t do it alone. I’ll keep fighting in Washington for more support to speed broadband deployment in our state and help every Vermonter get connected. I’m glad I got to join today’s install, and I thank Maple Broadband and WCVT for all they do to buildout broadband across our rural communities.”
Many Vermonters lack access to 100/100 Mbps broadband, making it harder to conduct business, participate in online schooling, and access telemedicine.
Panton, VT, is included in the Maple Broadband Communications Union District and serviced by WCVT. To support projects extending fiber to previously unserved areas in Addison County, Maple Broadband and WCVT jointly applied for funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which Senator Welch helped pass a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. With ARPA support, Maple Broadband and WCVT have launched more than 25 miles of broadband service, serving more than 70 customers. Over the coming year, the CUD and WCVT plan to complete more than 100 additional miles of work, further expanding broadband access for rural Vermonters.
The ReConnecting Rural America Act will reauthorize and strengthen the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect program and support broadband deployment across rural America. More on the bill can be found here.