Monday, April 29, 2013

Look Out Google Fiber, $35-A-Month Gigabit Internet Comes to Vermont - Digits - WSJ

Look Out Google Fiber, $35-A-Month Gigabit Internet Comes to Vermont - Digits - WSJ: VTel’s Chief Executive Michel Guite says he’s made it a personal mission to upgrade the company’s legacy phone network, which dates back to 1890, with fiber for the broadband age. The company was able to afford the upgrades largely by winning federal stimulus awards set aside for broadband. Using $94 million in stimulus money, VTel has invested in stringing 1,200 miles of fiber across a number of rural Vermont counties over the past year. Mr. Guite says the gigabit service should be available across VTel’s footprint in coming months.

VTel joins an increasing number of rural telephone companies who, having lost DSL share to cable Internet over the years, are reinvesting in fiber-to-the-home networks.
As Google targets large metro areas of the United States for fiber rollouts, small incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) like this one are upgrading their outmoded copper cable infrastructure with fiber to the premise (FTTP). Nevertheless, significant gaps will remain, particularly in areas of the U.S. served by top tier telcos like AT&T and Verizon that have essentially put their copper networks into runoff mode with no plans to upgrade them with fiber plant as they concentrate their CAPex on mobile wireless services.  Due to their smaller populations, these areas are also unlikely to attract Google fiber and will have to build their own community-based FTTP networks.

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