#Vermont Official Drives All Over the Map Checking Cellphone Signals

As we look to ensure the safety, education and healthcare needs of all Vermonters, this is an important project undertaken by Vermont’s Department of Public Service and Agency of Digital Service. #

Valley News – Vermont Official Drives All Over the Map Checking Cellphone Signals Royalton — Can you hear him now?Corey Chase is driving at a snail’s pace along the dirt roads around Royalton and Barnard in a state-owned Prius, backing his car into driveways, turning around, retracing his route.Mounted inside the car to his left is…
— Read on www.vnews.com/


Southern #Vermont Economy & Connectivity events

Please share this information and I hope you will attend any events that can fit into your schedules.

Southern Vermont Economy Zone CEDS: Windham and Bennington County are fast approaching the finalization of a plan to grow the economy which over 700 of our fellow Southern Vermonters have contributed to. You can read more about that process here, and there are public meetings across Southern Vermont tomorrow and Thursday.

Consolidated hearing: There are significant telecommunications events happening in Southern Vermont in the coming month – one is a hearing by the Public Utility Commission on Consolidated Communications.  After a significant increase in repair and new service complaints this summer, the Department of Public Service petitioned for an  investigation to be conducted. There will be two hearings statewide – one in Readsboro at the school on November 26th starting at 6:30 and another in St Albans at BF Academy on December 6th at 6:30. Please share this information with your neighbors and ask them to attend or file comments with the PUC on case #18-3231 if they have experienced a service quality or new installation issue. It seems likely that Vermont’s policymakers are not aware of the extent of the service quality issues, or the results of the billions of dollars of deferred maintenance. While we all want to see more internet and cellular service, unreliable land line phone service in areas without cell or internet poses significant dangers for vulnerable populations and public safety.

Connectivity Summit: The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Southern Vermont Economy Project has organized a 2nd Annual Southern Vermont Connectivity Summit.The event will take place at the Grand Summit in Dover, VT from 1pm-4pm on Friday November 30th. This event is geared towards town manager, town administrators, select board members and town organized committees but is free and open to interested members of the public. Content is structured to assist communities or groups of communities in improving their overall connectivity through planning and collaboration. Sarah Lang is the SVEP Manager and can be reached at slang@brattleborodevelopment.com or 802-257-7731 ext. 222

CEDS times of public input follow: 

Brattleboro Public Input
Wednesday November 14, 2018 | 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM EDT
Education Conference Center * Brattleboro Retreat * Brattleboro

Bellows Falls Public Input
Wed November 14, 2018 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Lower Theater * 7 Square * Town of Rockingham, VT 05101

Wilmington Public Input Session
Thursday November 15th, 2018   |  8:00 AM – 10:00 AM EDT
Old School Library  *   School Street  *   Wilmington, VT 05363

Bennington Public Input Session
Thursday November, 15th 2018 | 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT
Masonic Lodge * 504 Main Street * Bennington, VT 05201

Manchester Public Input Session
Thursday November 15th, 2018  |   6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Manchester Town Hall   *  6039 Main Street  *   Manchester, VT 05255

Rep. Sibilia: Voting, PUC hearings on Consolidated Communications

Good evening/morning,
Election day is Tuesday, November 6th. You must be registered to vote in the town you currently reside in. In Vermont you can register the day of the election. Information on Vermont’s voting laws is available on the Secretary of State’s website.
This year, we have contested elections for U.S. Senator, U.S. Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor and State Senate. I am running uncontested for re-election to represent you in the House of Representatives and ask for your vote. You may write in a name for any office. Just about every election in Vermont we are reminded that the individuals vote counts a lot. Many races have been won with one or two votes and a number of statewide elections have not resulted in a candidate receiving a majority of the votes and required the legislature to choose the winner. Please vote!
Dover Town Hall                              7:00 AM
Readsboro Central School            10:00 AM
Searsburg Town Clerks Office     10:00 AM
Stamford Elementary School          8:00 AM
Wardsboro Town Office                  9:00 AM
Whitingham Municipal Center     10:00 AM
All polls close at 7:00 PM
Results will be posted as they come in at the Secretary of State’s elections results web page.
Consolidated Communications hearings
Southern Vermont: READSBORO November 26th 
Northern Vermont: SAINT ALBANS December 6th
Time and locations TBD 
The Vermont Department of Public Service has petitioned the Vermont Public Utilities commission for an investigation into the service quality provided by Consolidated Communications, Inc. In seeking the investigation, the Department noted that the number of consumer complaints received from Consolidated customers related to service outages between July and September of 2018 has increased by 2,760% over the same period in the previous year and that the number of complaints related to installation delays between July and September of 2018 has increased 500% over the same period in 2017. The Department has been conducting an informal inquiry into the complaints and Consolidated is cooperating with the inquiry.
Please share: I personally have received multiple reports of elderly, handicapped or geographically isolated customers safety having been compromised by service quality issues (5 and 10 day repair times for instance). It is important for state regulators to understand the magnitude of the service quality challenges. If you have experienced poor quality telephone service, lengthy repair or installation times please consider testifying in person or you can provide testimony online at the Vermont Public Utility Commission Online Portal for case #18-3231-PET
Act 46 news 
The State Board of Education has recently accepted the Secretary of Education recommendations for the Searsburg and Stamford Interstate District Alternative Structure proposals. Many many thanks for the countless hours both groups have put forward on behalf of their students and taxpayers in order to fulfill their districts obligations under Act 46.
Congratulations to the new River Valleys Unified School District board  for their recent award from BCTV: Municipal Partner of the Year.

“River Valleys Unified School District Board was created last summer following the unification of Dover and Wardsboro School Districts under Act 46. The River Valleys USD Board turned to BCTV to video its bi-weekly meetings as a way to engage and provide transparency. And, in fact, thanks to the board’s promotional efforts, most of the meetings have received hundreds of views.

‘It’s gratifying to get so many views, and critical that those who can’t attend can get the full flavor of the somewhat complex process,” said Board Chair Richard Werner. “In addition, it’s been a benefit to all of us to be able to review the videos as work progresses.'”

Open enrollment period is November 1 through December 15th more info 
Highlights from this summer/fall
Ditch School in Wardsboro with Gary Urbanati
Readsboro meeting w/Agency of Digital Services & Department of Public Service

Community forums in Wardsboro, Dover, Readsboro and Stamford & healthcare forum in Whitingham

Toured Great River Hydro Facilities 

Attended dedication of 
Gold Star Families Memorial
State Board of Education Act 46 Alternative Structures Hearing
Grew a contender for World’s Smallest Gilfeather Turnip

A Historic Gathering of Independents at the #UniteSummit
Attended and spoke at: A Historic Gathering of Independents at the #UniteSummit in Denver

Listened to this excellent VPR Podcast series on Jack Sawyer and Vermont’s gun debate

These posts have been made to my website and to social media since the end of the 2018 session

 Opportunity: #Vermont Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) program

Please stay engaged and stay in touch via email lhsibilia@gmail.com or phone 802-384-0233. If you’d like to receive updates from my blog as they are posted please check out www.laurasibiliavt.com.
Rep. Laura Sibilia
State Representative
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

The entire telecommunications industry is suing #Vermont for taking action on #NetNeutrality

The lawsuit follows below.

The question is whether or not Vermont’s governor and legislature are federally preempted from taking action on issues of connectivity as it relates to the Net Neutrality issue.

The House Committee in Energy and Technology on which I serve spent much of the last session working on this legislation.


More on rural phone service and Readsboro telephone meeting

Many thanks to the Town Clerk’s Office, Selectboard, Schoolboard, Codogni Plumbing and Readsboro Broadband Committee member Omar Smith for making themselves available in the middle of the day to talk with the Secretary of Digital Services John Quinn and the Commissioner of Public Services June Tierney.  The pair were in Bennington County for Governor Scott’s Cabinet for a Day program and asked to come meet and listen to what has been going on with phone service in one of our isolated towns.

VTDigger posted a story on rural communications issues last week which you can find here. I’m relieved to find no one willing to defend 10 day repair times for folks who only have a land line phone, but that doesn’t actually solve the problem many have been facing.  Please make sure to report outages or poor quality connections to your telephone company right away and stay in touch if you experiencing troubles getting a timely repair. In the short term an investigation and possibly work to change rules which impact repair times in rural areas may provide some immediate relief – but the big picture long term is going to require us to consider Vermont’s entire telecommunications system and providers to ensure reliability for all.