Rural Cell Service Project Successfully Tested in Orange County

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) announces a milestone in expanding cellular phone service in the state. A VTA project with CoverageCo, a wholesale service provider, has successfully completed five miles of wireless coverage along Route 110 between Chelsea and Washington. This test project is a standard process before commercially launching a new network, and the technology passed with flying colors for voice, text and data.

The VTA has provided funding for CoverageCo to build nearly 90 miles of wholesale cell service in a number of the state-designated Target Corridors where little or no service currently exists. The project includes Corridors in both Orange and Lamoille counties. VTA is purchasing the necessary equipment, which CoverageCo will lease. The company has expressed the intention to invest its own capital in building 125 additional service miles beyond the 90-mile VTA project.

CoverageCo is a new name to Vermont cell service users because the company does not provide retail service directly to customers. It does business with existing cellular providers through industry-standard roaming agreements. One of the benefits of the CoverageCo network is its compatibility with both the major technologies in use today through existing consumer phones. Currently, most networks only support one type of cell technology, not both, limiting those who can roam onto a specific network. CoverageCo makes access available to both CDMA and GSM-enabled phones, thereby having the capacity to serve the greatest number of Vermonters.

This innovative network is an alternative to the traditional model of cell towers and is made up of “micro sites.” These are unobtrusive, low-power base stations mounted about a mile apart on utility poles already in place along roadways or other existing structures.

“This is an important first step in the launch of the CoverageCo network in Vermont, bringing cellular service to underserved areas throughout the State. We are excited by the volume of requests we are getting from Vermonters to enable their existing cell phones to work in their particular area,” said Richard P. Biby, CEO of CoverageCo.

The next step is building additional service on this and other Corridors for commercial launch within the next two months. Expansion will continue throughout the year.

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority is committed to supporting broadband and cell service expansion across the state. To stay up-to-date on telecommunications in Vermont, go to www.broadbandvt.org. For more information about VTA projects, visit www.telecomvt.org.



For more information, contact:

Christopher Campbell
Vermont Telecommunications Authority
One National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05620-3205
(802) 828-1799