…like two press releases passing in the night

Apparently some folks down Putney way are upset over the lack of consistent broadband service — and over Governor Shumlin’s declarations of “Mission Accomplished” on that front.

How upset? Upset enough to send out a press release in ALL CAPS.

APPROXIMATELY 300 RESIDENTS OF GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN’S HOME TOWN OF PUTNEY, VERMONT, STILL LACK HIGH SPEED BROADBAND, DESPITE PROMISES BY THE GOVERNOR TO “GET HIGH SPEED INTERNET TO EVERY LAST MILE IN THIS GREAT STATE BY THE END OF 2013 ! ”

… PUTNEY TOWN RESIDENTS WHO STILL LACK (HARD-WIRED) BROADBAND WILL BE REGISTERING THEIR FRUSTRATION AND ANGER WITH THE GOVERNOR’S BROKEN PROMISES AT THIS TUESDAY’S ANNUAL TOWN MEETING,…

TRADITIONALLY, GOV. SHUMLIN… ATTENDS HIS LOCAL TOWN MEETING, TO GIVE LOCAL RESIDENTS AN UPDATE ON HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS WELL AS HIS VISION FOR THE FUTURE.

LOCAL RESIDENTS HOPE TO ENGAGE GOV. SHUMLIN, AND HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE FOR KEEPING HIS PROMISE.

Nope, not a good look for a press release. Anyway, Mr. Field may or may not be overstating Shumlin’s “tradition” of attending his local town meeting, I don’t know. But it looks like the Gov (now, famously, a resident of East Montpelier) won’t be playing ire-catcher in Putney. From Shumlin’s public-appearance schedule:

Tuesday, March 4, Town Meeting Day

9:00 a.m. Visit Richmond Town Meeting

Camels Hump Middle School

173 School Street

10:15 a.m. Visit Georgia Town Meeting

Georgia Elementary School

4416 Ethan Allen Hwy, Georgia

I doubt that Shumlin is willfully ducking a broadband confrontation; he’s much more likely to draw heat over school funding wherever he goes on Tuesday. For his part, Mr. Field could have checked with the Governor’s office before sending out his press rel — sorry, PRESS RELEASE. I suspect he deliberately failed to do so, in hopes of drawing attention to his actual Town Meeting Day gambit (and, bonus, shaming the Governor for not attending an event he had no plans to attend):

RESIDENTS PLAN TO INTRODUCE A RESOLUTION ADVISING THEIR LOCAL SELECTBOARD TO INSIST THAT LOCAL LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES AND THE GOVERNOR CARRY THROUGH IMMEDIATELY WITH SHUMLIN’S PROMISE…

Gah. Enough with the all caps, plz.

This isn’t Field’s first public foray on the subject of rural broadband. One year ago in VTDigger:

Some residents in Gov. Peter Shumlin’s hometown of Putney are skeptical about whether the state will keep its promise to ensure all Vermonters have access to broadband by the end of 2013, and they are doubtful about the quality of the service.

John Field, who lives on Putney’s West Hill Road near the boundary with Dummerston, estimates that 20 or so homes in his neighborhood lack broadband access.

What FIeld wants is hard-wired broadband, rather than the wireless variety that’s the only option for some sparsely-populated areas. I can sympathize, but look: that area of Putney/Dummerston is popular with white-collar professionals who choose to live out in the boonies. Like, say, John Field:

Field and his wife, Jane, both work for Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, as a psychotherapist/social worker and pediatrician, respectively.

In other words, they could live anywhere they want. Now, that’s a beautiful area, and if my family had two professional incomes (and jobs in Brattleboro), we might well choose to live there too. But, geez, don’t expect city-level services if you live deep in the countryside. Just ask the head man at Field’s ISP.

VTel’s president Michel Guité says he is also a big fan of fiber, or hardwired Internet access, but that’s a “dream that won’t happen” in Vermont, because it isn’t economically feasible in many towns.

The Governor’s promises have sparked some unrealistic expectations. But that’s what they are: unrealistic. John Field, through his ALL-CAPS PRESS RELEASE, has raised another expectation: Shumlin’s personal attendance at Town Meeting. And when the Governor fails to show, Field and his affluent, forest-dwelling friends will have another pretext for railing about broken promises.  

6 thoughts on “…like two press releases passing in the night

  1. it qualifies for “broadband coverage” — this is how Shummy & the other bureaucrats are able to claim “success” and the so-called percentages as “proof” of coverage. While smartphones which could give one internet access are available I’m sure we can all agree it is not quite the same as home computer access although a laptop may barely qualify in some instances but WiFi alone is spotty, unreliable service in most places. Also unsure if the gigs necessary are available to make the service worthy.

    I can see why Putney is piqued. Their very own Shummy betrays his homz.

    Never heard of this but wondering why it is not utilized here in VT unless it has been very recently:

    http://www.freegovernmentcellp

    Pew does not count cell service as broadband access:

    http://www.pewinternet.org/201

  2. I believe that since they don’t have broadband, they had to use the technology at their disposal: Teletype.  (Which was always ALL CAPS.)

  3. The VT-GOP just sent this out to their email list as well. I love the line: “PUTNEY TOWN RESIDENTS…WILL BE REGISTERING THEIR FRUSTRATION AND ANGER.” New GOP tagline: “Register Your Emotions, Not Your Assault Weapons.”

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