Speed Matters in Vermont

Government leaders, union representatives, educators and concerned citizens recently met at a public forum in Vermont. Congressman Bernie Sanders hosted the event to discuss the lack of high speed internet in rural communities.

Mike O'Day (CWA Local 1400) was there and posted this report on the Local 1400 website:

Tonight at the Burlington High School, Congressman Bernie Sanders hosted a public forum regarding the future of Vermont’s Information Superhighway; specifically addressing the proposed sale of Verizon’s landline holdings.
In attendance were roughly 80 people ranging from concerned consumers, employees, elected officials and community leaders. Among the political attendees were Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, Rep David Zuckerman and Sen. Ed Flanigan.

A number of CWA and IBEW members spoke about the negative impact such a sale would have not only on their jobs but also on the quality of services offered to consumers and the deployment of high speed internet to Vermont's communities. Consumers expressed disatisfaction with the lack of high speed internet to their homes and workplaces. Legislators spoke about the need to ensure that high speed internet be deployed throughout the state and that the Public Service Board consider and remedy any negative impact of a Verizon sale on workers, consumers and high speed internet deployment.

Mike summarizes the testimony of Speed Matters team member Ken Peres:

... an Economics PHD speaking for the Communications Workers of America, spoke at length about rural redlining, and the fate of the internet superhighway in America. Ken related the internet was created in the US but ranks only 16 in the world in broadband deployment. Ken spoke to alternative ways of getting broadband to rural areas, as has been done in Kentucky by utilizing public and private dollars. Ken spoke about the erosion of good paying jobs and benefits in areas where broadband is not available, and how large telecoms are abandoning traditional copper markets, even though they are still sources of tremendous cash flow.

Vermont, like most states in America, lacks basic high speed internet connections and infrastructure for a large portion of its residents. Furthermore, each day that Vermont residents do not have access to high speed internet, they fall farther behind the rest of the world in educational opportunities and business needs.

As Ken put it:

Unless we do something soon, we will become a nation divided between those who live in Gated Digital Communities concentrated in the higher income areas of our suburbs and cities who have access to high speed internet and can speed down the information super highway while the rest of us are forced to chug along on the telecommunications dirt path?"

The goal of bringing high speed internet to needy areas will benefit Americans in many different parts of their lives. From improving education, helping local businesses and creating new high tech jobs -- high speed internet will have a huge impact on rural communities and states such as Vermont.

The public forum in Vermont and the Stop the Sale campaign are sheding light on many of the issues that millions face and the need for high speed internet in all regions of America.  Each day the millions of Americans who do not have high speed internet fall farther behind the rest of America and the world.

CWA Local 1400 Website

Ken Peres' Vermont Testimony

Stop the Sale