Correction: Vermont’s doing better than the FCC thinks

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about Vermont’s awful performance on broadband Internet access. It was based on the Federal Communications Commission’s most recent figures on broadband availability, which showed 80% of Vermonters don’t have FCC-standard high-speed Internet. (25 MB for downloads, 3 MB for uploads.)

Well, turns out the FCC has it wrong. The actual figure is 29%, not 80%. Which is a whole lot different.

It’s not the FCC’s fault; it was given faulty information by an unnamed state functionary.

“The mapping initiative involved several parties,” explained Jim Porter, Director of the Telecommunications and Connectivity Division of the Vermont Public Service Department. “For the FCC, VCGI [Vermont Center for Geographic Information] was the entity that reported to the FCC. The guy who submitted the data failed to include Comcast.”

That guy.

That GuyIf you plug the Comcast-inclusive figure into the FCC chart, Vermont is in a three-way tie with Louisiana and Missouri for 36th place in the nation. Not great, but not astonishingly terrible.

“If you have cable [Internet], you have 25/3 at home,” Porter said. “That leaves us with 29% without 4/1 or greater. Our initiative is to bring that 29% up to at least parity with higher speeds.”

And yes, the goal is 100% coverage at the 25/3 standard. The next stage of the effort will get underway very soon; Porter expects that the next FCC report, due in January, will show Vermont at better than its current, actual 29%.

It was nice of Porter to give me a call, and it was extra nice of him not to blame me for the screwup. Which he could have been inclined to do, since my post sparked a flurry of angry/concerned/perplexed phone calls from VPO readers.

Nice to know I can make an impact. Sorry, in this case, it was off target.

I still think the Shumlin administration has been somewhat duplicitous in touting broadband progress based on a standard that was outdated in 2010. But that’s a matter of political posturing, not policy implementation.

Also, note to Brandon Riker, candidate for Lieutenant Governor: you might want to update your talking points.


2 thoughts on “Correction: Vermont’s doing better than the FCC thinks

  1. jessamyn

    Super curious about people who have access to these speeds but don’t actually have that level of internet at home (either none, dial-up or slower broadband). I live in Orange County where there is cable available but it’s expensive relative to DSL but also faster. Real numbers on what people are actually using would be great.


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