I don’t agree completely with the internet plan of Vermont Governor Douglas (R) but even in this advanced day, he deserves credit for having a clear and ambitious vision for the future of the internet in the state of Vermont.
It is therefore no surprise that he took the task of ranking applications to heart and provided a clear, detailed letter (here in .pdf format from the Baller Herbst website) that ranked the various applications involving the state of Vermont.
He chose Vermont CTO Tom Evslin (blog here) to head the stimulus effort of the state of Vermont — a higher profile person than that heading the stimulus effort in many much larger states.
I was surprised, however, to see that the letter says that Fairpoint has done an excellent job of providing broadband to the state of Vermont. At a hearing recently, a Vermont firefighter opposed further sales of lines by Verizon when he said, “In Vermont we once had ‘Ma Bell’ provide our telephone service. Then we had ‘Baby Bell’ service. Sadly, with FairPoint’s acquisition of Verizon’s northern New England properties, we now only have ‘Tinker Bell’ service.”
(The state may soon have power problems too, if nuclear plants are spun off and allowed to go bankrupt.)
The state also claims that the proposals it favors only appear to overlap. I’m certain the federal government will examine that claim.
Proposals not recommended
I think it’s wonderful — and politically courageous — that the state chose to highlight a few proposals it does not recommend. I am particularly pleased that it does not recommend the satellite proposals from EchoStar and Hughes. I agree that they will do little for Vermont.
I agree that Aircell’s proposal for in-flight broadband, while interesting, does not belong in the stimulus.
Vermont expressed some doubts about MegaPath and I have heard similar doubts from others but do not have access to enough information to judge their proposal myself.
I think it’s great that the state criticized so many education proposals as being too expensive or poorly targeted.
Finally, on mapping, the state is justifiably proud of its own mapping project, and of the fact that its mapping project was one of the first to be funded by the federal government.