A 2009 University of Vermont survey showed that broadband service connections had increased from 9% in 2001 to 66% in 2009. However, of those with internet service, 88% of urban and 93% of suburban households had broadband compared to only 76% in rural areas. Of connected households, 18% had dial-up from their ISP, 24% had a cable modem and 42% had DSL. Only 3% had fiber optic cable, 6% got wireless internet access and the balance had a satellite connection from their internet provider. The 2009 Speed Matters survey put Vermont 44th with an average download speed of 3.3 mbps, down from 3.5 mbps the previous year.
The Vermont Council on Rural Development set up a Rural Broadband Project in 2002, providing grants for communities to help them develop broadband internet services for rural areas. It aimed to have a high speed service available to 90% of the state by 2007, subsequently updated to a universal service and mobile coverage by the end of 2010. The Vermont Housing Finance Agency set out a requirement for all new affordable housing units to be appropriately wired and to encourage internet providers to deliver affordable services to them.
In October 2009, Vermont was awarded $1.2 million by the NTIA to undertake mapping of broadband availability. The state had earlier applied for $130 million of stimulus grants to increase broadband availability and adoption. It is estimated that this will leave less than 10,000 homes with no broadband access as against 242,000 currently in that position.
The state map shows wifi hotspots clustered in the north and east plus around Arlington and Bennington in the south, but large areas elsewhere with no coverage. However, AT&T announced plans in December 2009 to expand its 3G service.
The second least populated state in the US, Vermont has a humid climate with warm summers and cold winters. The gross product is the lowest among all states and its number one trading partner is Canada.
Dairy farming is the main source of agriculture income, although the number of farms is less than 10% of those in 1947. IBM provides 25% of all manufacturing jobs in Vermont and tourism is a major industry, mainly for skiing and summer camps. Montpelier is the state capital and the four largest cities are Burlington, Essex, Rutland and Colchester.
Cities in Vermont likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Burlington, Essex, Rutland, Colchester, South Burlington and Montpelier. Locations in VT with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.