We moved our web design business to Brattleboro in 2001. People around Brattleboro were mostly using modems, and Sovernet was just beginning to sign people up for (relatively slow) DSL connections. We limped by, overpaid, and designed local web sites for low bandwidth knowing most people were stuck at low speeds around here.
As time went on, things didn’t really speed up much here, but friends (and competitors) in bigger cities were leaping ahead. While we were lucky to get 3-7 Mbps here, they were enjoying 200 Mbps or more.
A Brattleboro Selectboard quartet decided Tuesday night to proceed on a path toward suing opioid manufacturers and providers. The board didn’t see any need to spare local pharmacies from potential litigation, and wasn’t sure about suing local doctors.
The board continued their discussion of municipal broadband, bought winter salt and sand, heard a report on progress at WSWMD, and got a final financial report from retiring John O’Connor.
The Brattleboro Selectboard learned the tales of five nearby municipal broadband projects and expressed varying levels of support for something local, along with many questions. Some answers will come at their next meeting.
The Work Today program is being delayed until spring 2020, the parking garage will get a new elevator cab, the DPW will get their generator, and the Town hopes to get some volunteers for committees.
An unusually-short agenda awaits the Brattleboro Selectboard at their next regular meeting. Short agendas sometimes imply absent board members.
They will get an update on the Work Today program at Youth Services and hear results of staff research into a potential new utility, municipal broadband. There are just two other items – buying a generator and announcing committee vacancies. You can extend this meeting by bringing up other items not on this tiny agenda during Public Participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard was reduced to four members for their meeting Tuesday, and Tim Wessel sat in as Chair for the evening. They managed to get through a long agenda with relative efficiency.
A new goal to examine the impact of the opioid epidemic in Brattleboro is being considered, as is a new handicap parking space on the east side of Main Street. The state may have programs that might eventually help Brattleboro with broadband issues, Brattleboro is paving streets in Esteyville and buying a new dump truck, and much more.
A packed agenda awaits the Brattleboro Selectboard for their first regular meeting of May. Brattleboro broadband possibilities and a handicapped parking space on Main Street are just two items of note.
They’ll also talk about liquor licenses for new and old establishments. They will buy a dump truck, authorize improvements to the parking garage, plan summer paving, and discuss goals and town operations. There are grants to apply for, farm taxes to be stabilized, meetings to cancel, and more. And you can bring up other items during public participation.
If you want to learn how Vermont is going to have 100Mbps broadband available to most residents by 2020 (or actually why it very probably will not), which was the goal of Vermont’s 10 year Telecommunications Plan in 2014, watch this video. The second speaker, starting at around 50
minutes in, is particularly interesting and he provides a lot of researched results on the failings of the previous “plan” (which seems to have basically been a legal requirement to develop a plan, which was ignored due to a lack of legal enforcement and funding):
Brattleboro could do much better with technology, and as a result do better as a Town. There are some obstacles in the way, though:
Poor Internet Choices
Brattleboro choices for Internet are rather poor. Hardly anyone here gets 25 megabits down and 3 megabits up, a standard definition of broadband. To approach those speeds one must pay a small monthly fortune.
As Brattleboro begins down the path toward adding municipal broadband utility, the ACLU has weighed in with a new report “The Public Internet Option – How Local Governments Can Provide Network Neutrality, Privacy, and Access for All.”
The report compares the necessity of internet access to that of electricity and water, and says that the rollback of net neutrality laws and enforcement threatens equal access (as we have for say, roads and bridges).
The Brattleboro Selectboard held a meeting full of exciting twists and turns. From a sudden interest in municipal broadband to a re-examination of requiring write-in candidates to pre-register, the meeting was full of surprises.
There were the scheduled issues as well with liquor licenses renewed, an animal control officer appointed, grants accepted, and so on, but even these provided curious side paths. Consider, for example, that the board decided to willingly challenge what they felt was an unfair ordinance, all in the name of compassion. Or the matter of the fly in need of rescue… In short, it was an eventful meeting.