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Can you hear me now? Some worry that 'e-state' will disconnect communities

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2009-10-11

By KEVIN O'CONNOR
They inspire poets and painters, campers and climbers, scientists and souls yearning to touch the sky.

Who doesn't love the Green Mountains?

Vermonters who view them as the state's biggest barrier to up-to-date telecommunications.

Unlike more plugged-in places, Vermont has less than 200,000 high-speed Internet lines and cell phone service to only about 60 percent of its population, leaving many of the state's 621,000 residents feeling disconnected from the rest of the world.

"Many Vermonters believe universal access to affordable broadband Internet and cellular telephone communications networks is essential to realize new opportunities in commerce, arts and community," the Council on the Future of Vermont writes in its recent report, "Imagining Vermont: Values and Vision for the Future."

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