Montpelier, Vermont — October 7, 2020 — The Vermont Department of Public Safety announced that Wireless Partners has received a $762,000 grant to connect 668 locations in the Northeast Kingdom to 5G cellular and broadband. The grant was awarded as part of the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Connectivity Initiative and Get Vermonters Connected Now Initiative.
America’s unprecedented switch to virtual work and school, and the exponential increase in telemedicine, has placed an urgent demand on broadband connectivity. Unfortunately, it has also exacerbated the rural digital divide. In response, the State of Vermont sought proposals to develop broadband networks for underserved communities. In pursuit of its mission to bridge the rural digital divide, Wireless Partners – a privately funded, veteran-owned company that designs, builds, owns and operates carrier-grade 4G and 5G ready cellular networks – submitted a proposal to build a new 5G ready network in the Northeast Kingdom.
“COVID-19 has laid bare the lack of access to broadband in our rural communities and the resulting detriment,” stated Bob Parsloe, CEO of Wireless Partners. “Through efforts like the COVID-19 Emergency Connectivity Initiative and Get Vermonters Connected Now Initiative we can turn what had been a disadvantage into a strength as these towns leapfrog to the front of the 5G revolution. It’s exciting to be a part of.”
With the grant, Wireless Partners will build 5 new sites in the Northeast Kingdom and connect them to its existing network in New Hampshire’s North Country which runs up to the state line along Route 3. Towers will be cited in Norton, Averill, Wenlock, Warrens Gore and Canaan. In total, the network will connect 668 locations including homes, businesses, schools, and public safety departments.
The network will offer cellular phone service, including T-Mobile, and provide fixed wireless through Consolidated Communications’ Trailrunner Wireless broadband service. Fixed wireless uses cellular technology to provide broadband internet directly to homes and businesses without the need for a fiber connection. The affordable basic plan will include unlimited data and provides broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps. This capacity is especially critical given the added importance of internet connectivity for remote learning and virtual work.