April 17, 2014

Meeting will detail Internet options

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A high-speed Internet connection has become nearly a necessity. Yet access to a fast connection is hardly universal in Williston and elsewhere.

This Monday, telecommunication companies will give an overview of Internet options and issues during a meeting at Williston Town Hall. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Representatives from Adelphia, Soundtivity and Verizon will attend the session. An official from the Vermont Department of Information and Innovation will talk about other vendors and technologies, as well as state initiatives.

Rep. Mary Peterson, D-Williston, said Internet access remains an issue for many residents.

“High-speed Internet access in the home is becoming critical, as any number of stories on the ‘digital divide’ will tell,” she wrote in a media release. “Although clearly there is more high-speed coverage in Williston than more rural towns, we face challenges with existing services, and particularly on our longer country roads and south of the interstate, dial-up is still a reality.”

Monday’s meeting will provide information on Internet technology, but Peterson said the session will be geared to those who have little or no technical knowledge.

High-speed access is available in Williston through Verizon and cable television provider Adelphia, which was recently sold to Time Warner and Comcast. Under the sales agreement, Comcast will provide service to all of Adelphia’s Vermont customers.

Neither Verizon nor Adelphia provides service to all of Williston. To use cable Internet, customers must be in Adelphia’s service area. For DSL access through Verizon, customers must be within a certain distance from a central switching office.

Adelphia and Verizon representatives who attend next week’s meeting will provide details on their service areas and explain plans for future expansions.

Other Internet options will also be discussed. A representative from Colchester-based Soundtivity will explain the wireless service it provides, which “broadcasts” Internet access to multi-unit dwellings and in rural areas. The company will explain how a group of homeowners may make their service feasible in Williston.

For an overview of home broadband services, visit www.vtruralbroadband.org. For more information about Monday’s meeting, call Peterson at 878-8241 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

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