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A Rural Phone Company Offers Fiber Internet Cheaper Than Google

Submitted by on April 28, 2013 – 10:18 am25 Comments
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A rural phone company could be Google’s (and the cable providers’) biggest upcoming competitor. The Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) is now offering gigabit internet for $35 a month, half the price of Google Fiber’s equivalent service.

However, Google Fiber also offers a broadband service that is free after installation costs. Fiber is currently only available in Kansas City, and is soon expanding there and debuting in Austin, Texas.

According to the Wall Street Journal, VTel currently covers 17,500 homes in Vermont, and has 600 subscribers for its new service. It was able to update it’s century-plus old infrastructure thanks to $94 million in federal stimulus money.

(So the next time someone tells you that no federal program has ever been successful, you can tell them “rural electrification” and hopefully, “rural broadband.”)

Google and Vtel could be seen as (very different) twin prongs in the charge against entrenched cable and internet providers. A handful of companies like TimeWarner, Comcast, and AT&T have long controlled the market due to the prohibitively high costs of creating new cable infrastructure, and their ability to defeat smaller competitors. This control has also kept down faster internet speeds, with officials questioning whether consumers “need” the better service.

But Google threw it’s huge influence and resources behind high speed internet, scaring the traditional providers into offering some better deals. At the same time, over 700 smaller providers have worked to update their networks, not wanting providers to beat them out as they did with DSL.

What do you think? Will companies like VTel be able to compete?

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