Gigabit broadband proponents rejoice; another city in the US is online with gigabit fiber. But it gets even better. Vermont Telephone Co. (VTel) is offering the service to VT residents for only $35/month, half the price of the much lauded Google Fiber.
VTel’s Chief Executive, Michel Guite, says the project was made possible by a $94 million stimulus awarded by the federal government for broadband development. Over the past year, the company has strung 1,200 miles of fiber through rural counties, and currently has 600 subscribers to the new service.
For rural telephone companies, the move to fiber is an increasing trend as DSL has been losing ground to cable service for years. And for VTel, it was a necessity to replace the company’s antiquated infrastructure that was originally installed in 1890.
Initially denied the grant stimulus money, Guite acknowledges that Google played a helpful role in ultimately getting the federal dollars for the Vermont fiber project by pushing forward with Google Fiber. “Google has really given us more encouragement,” Guite said to the Wall Street Journal.
Many cable operators have pushed back against gigabit service to the home, saying that there isn’t a use for those kinds of speeds for residential customers. Regardless of the limited practical usage scenarios that can currently saturate a gigabit internet line, cable incumbents have good cause to be nervous. VTel and Google are offering service that is forty times faster than Comcast’s standard “Performance” tier of service, and in the case of VTel, it’s half the price.