Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) has confirmed that 600 out of the 17,500 households it covers in Vermont are able to access its new 1Gbps fibre-optic network. Further, while just over half of VTel households have signed up for ADSL packages, some 83% of the eligible 600 households have already signed up for a 1Gbps fibre connection. The rollout came about after the US Department of Agriculture bestowed USD116 million on VTel in August 2010, to dig up and replace its copper network with 1Gbps fibre, and build out a Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network. The bulk of that funding (USD81 million) came in the form of a grant that VTel never has to pay back, while the other USD35 million was a loan. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2012 VTel enlisted Swedish vendor Ericsson to deploy its LTE network. The 4G network will encompass around 200 cell sites and be up and running by the end of 2013.