Vermont voters support 5G, prioritize wireless network enhancements

Owen Smith
September 21, 2020
Broadband Access and Affordability, Innovation and Technology

Vermont voters support 5G, prioritize wireless network enhancements

Staying connected is crucial during these uncertain times. We are relying more and more on things like video chatting, distance learning, virtual appointments, online commerce and so much more for work, school, health, entertainment and just generally staying in touch.

All this connectivity relies on strong wireless networks, something AT&T is committed to providing throughout the state. And as new research shows, a poll of likely Vermont voters showed strong support for the upgrade and enhancement the state’s wireless networks.

A recently conducted poll throughout Vermont asked likely voters on their attitudes about wireless connectivity, 5G, and their use of such technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Voters polled strongly support efforts by government officials and the telecom industry to enhance wireless networks across the state.

Key findings showed that Vermont voters believe quality wireless connectivity is a priority. Respondents also overwhelmingly believe it is important that they, their families, and the community institutions they rely on have quality wireless service and support the associated infrastructure improvements. The survey clearly demonstrated the vast majority of Vermont voters support efforts and infrastructure to enhance wireless networks, including upgrades to 5G.

Some specific data showed:

  • More than 4 out of 5 people support infrastructure improvements to enhance wireless networks and bring high-speed, high-capacity wireless technology to their area;
  • 92% believe it is important to have quality wireless service in their home;
  • 97% believe it is important for hospitals, schools, small businesses and local government to utilize high-speed wireless services;
  • 85% support infrastructure improvements that will bring better wireless connectivity to rural areas of the state, while only 4% do not.
  • 72% want faster download speeds and more capacity to use more devices;
  • 75% agree we should continue to bring high-speed broadband to our communities.

The data also showed how COVID-19 has highlighted the current and future need for high-speed, reliable wireless connectivity. Quality wireless connectivity has been a positive and crucial tool for voters during the COVID-19 public health crisis, enabling Vermonters to engage in important education and personal health-related activity and services. They also believe the need for quality connectivity will continue, and AT&T is committed to bringing the network upgrades that will serve communities’ connectivity needs.

How important is connectivity? Consider the following poll data:

  • 89% said it was important for their family to have reliable, high speed internet connectivity during the COVID-19 crisis;
  • 76% said their data usage greatly or somewhat increased during the COVID-19 crisis, while 91% believe their data usage will either remain at this elevated level or increase even further going forward;
  • More than half of respondents relied upon online technologies for healthcare or education services.

Vermonters also showed strong support for AT&T’s commitment to supporting a, dedicated network for first responders and public safety. More than 81% of people said they would support infrastructure improvements, such as a new tower, primarily dedicated to improving service for public safety and first responders.

In fact, AT&T made a major announcement in June about significant network enhancements across the state of Vermont, which benefit customers and public safety.

AT&T has significantly expanded our 4G LTE network coverage across the state. We’ve added 62 cell sites in 52 towns across Vermont to support residents, businesses and visitors using the AT&T network. From Castleton to Bristol to Sheldon, these newly added sites will significantly expand coverage to many corners of the state, and in many cases bring service to previously unserved or underserved areas.

Additionally, we’ve launched 2 new, purpose-built cell sites to give first responders access to FirstNet, Built with AT&T, the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and the extended public safety community.

When it comes to the future of wireless in the region, Vermont voters also believe efforts to improve wireless networks and wireless infrastructure (such as towers and small cells) must be continued. To make this a reality, it requires continued collaboration between public officials and companies like AT&T.

At the same time, voters strongly support efforts to bring better connectivity to rural communities as well, highlighting a well-known need in the state of Vermont. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted voters’ feelings about the importance of projects to improve rural connectivity There is notable anticipation for a continued shift to online services like distance learning and telehealth, which emphasizes just how critical it is for network improvements to be made.

The survey results also put to rest any notion of widespread opposition to wireless network enhancements or 5G. Numerous international and national scientific, public health and government regulation agencies have affirmed there are no quantifiable adverse health effects from radio frequency energy and wireless networks and devices, including current 4G and new 5G services and devices, operating at or below the FCC limits. This is clearly underscored by the overwhelming support for such infrastructure projects among the Vermont electorate.2

We hear you. Know that AT&T is committed to working with state and local governments in order to enhance our network, the infrastructure and keep pace with growing data needs.

1 RABA Research conducted a poll of 360 likely voters throughout Vermont from June 15-22, 2020