In Guildhall, Vt, the World Expands Just a Little

The Guildhall Public Library. Up in the cupola, there's a small white box, which has opened us up to the world a bit more!

This week, for the first time ever, true broadband came to Guildhall village and other Essex County river towns. When we moved here in 2004, dial up was the only option, with a few scattered homes in So Guildhall having access to DSL.

Ironically, our house looks across the Connecticut River to Groveton, New Hampshire. In the homes we can see from our porch, the residents had access to cable–the gold standard of internet speed, but we were stuck without it.

After a few years, satellite service became available. We signed up. Satellite has been many times better than dial up, but still substandard. The speed was frustratingly slow, ie video streaming was virtually impossible. Any kind of rain, wind or cloud cover disrupted service for unpredictable periods of time. And we had to monitor our download and upload volume carefully, due to the Fair Access Policy threshold/limits in place by Wildbue, the satellite provider. (If you exceed the threshold, your service is purposely slowed down for a period of time.)

And so we still looked longingly across the river, at those homes less than half a mile away with cable.

Northern Community Investment Corporation’s new initiative, Wireless LINC, has now placed radio signal boxes at strategic locations, which establishes a regional wireless network drawing from the server at Lyndon State College and other locations. Learn more about the new initiative here. Last week, one of the boxes was placed high up in the cupola at the Guildhall Public Library, right next door to our home.

So as of yesterday, we now have super-fast internet speed! We can stream video as needed, the weather will not affect service, and there are no download/upload limits. (Plus, the cost is cheaper) Wow!

For years, our rural and generally underserved corner of Vermont has gone without the telecommunications services available in much of the rest of Vermont (and the country). In terms of economic development, quality of life, and property values, this is a huge step forward for Guildhall, Essex County, and the North Country in general!

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