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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 1, 2012

VTA and CoverageCo Sign Contract for Improved Cellular Coverage

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) has signed a contract with wholesale cellular service provider CoverageCo of Cambridge, MA.  Later this year, CoverageCo will provide cellular coverage in parts of rural northern Vermont previously unserved by carriers.   CoverageCo’s multi-standard network technology will enable it to enter into agreements with virtually any retail cellular carrier so that subscribers in Vermont could use their existing phones and calling plans in more areas throughout the state.   CoverageCo has entered into an agreement with its first national retail cellular carrier.    

The VTA plans to provide $500,000 to support CoverageCo’s planned 2012 deployment from its state capital appropriations.  CoverageCo’s deployment will use a low cost, innovative approach to providing service in under-served cellular areas.  The planned network will use small-cell radio equipment installed on utility poles and other existing structures to provide service to existing cellular carriers.   The project will allow the Connect VT, the Governor’s broadband and cellular initiative and the VTA a demonstration project to assess the ability of CoverageCo’s proposed solution to deliver coverage in rural Vermont as proposed.  

 “In order to make deployment of cellular service economical in rural areas, it is important that we do everything we can to lower the cost of the infrastructure,” said Christopher Campbell, Executive Director of the VTA.  “The small-cell solution proposed to the VTA by CoverageCo has the potential to provide service to unserved corridors at a lower cost than conventional cell tower sites.”

Deployment for the project is scheduled for fall of 2012.  The VTA will purchase the equipment to serve nearly 90 miles of unserved roadway in three sections of the state.  CoverageCo will lease the equipment from the VTA and operate it as part of their overall network.  In addition to the 90 miles sponsored by the VTA through this contract, CoverageCo will cover an additional 125 road miles throughout the State as part of its initial build, funded through private capital investment.

“With this deployment of small cell technology, we will undertake a demonstration project to expand cellular coverage in target corridors.  We are funding and judiciously testing a leading edge technology for its ability to achieve coverage in hard to reach places.  Our goal is to vastly expand cellular coverage throughout the state and we believe that networks like this one, can be a significant part of the answer for Vermonters and the cellular carriers that operate here,” said Karen Marshall, Chief, Connect VT.

Radio equipment for the project will be provided by CoverageCo’s affiliated company, Vanu, Inc.  The Vanu “CompactRAN” equipment used in the project is being newly introduced in 2012 and builds on previous generations of Vanu software-defined radio technology deployed commercially in locations as diverse as Texas, Alaska, Nepal, and India, as well as for the U.S. Dept. of Defense.  Vanu, Inc. was a pioneer in the development of software-defined radio access networks, which enable multiple standards to operate simultaneously on a single platform.

“CoverageCo is pleased to work with the VTA to make cellular service available to new areas of Vermont,” said Richard Biby, CoverageCo CEO.  “We believe our small-cell technology and wholesale service approach will allow us to serve rural markets that were previously difficult to serve by retail carriers because of economic barriers.”

The VTA-funded project will touch 17 towns, covering the following routes:

  • Route 110 in Washington, through Chelsea, into part of Tunbridge
  • From Route 110 in Chelsea along the East Randolph Road into a part of Randolph
  • Route 25 from Orange, through Topsham, through Corinth, into a part of Bradford
  • From Route 25 in East Corinth Road through Topsham to Route 302 in Groton
  • Route 302 east of Orange through Topsham through Groton to South Ryegate
  • Six miles along Route 15 in Wolcott
  • Route 108 in Bakersfield through East Fletcher into Jeffersonville and Cambridge
  • Route 15 from Jeffersonville to Johnson

 

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For more information, contact:

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