How important are broadband internet services in a COVID-19 context, and how would you rate Maine’s current access to broadband infrastructure?
Reliable, affordable, high speed broadband enables access to economic, education and healthcare resources that are crucial in supporting community development and growth . In rural areas, residents may have to drive long distances to attend school; online education has been growing in popularity for some time. With the advent of COVID-19, the ability to access online education became a necessity overnight. Beyond attending school, good broadband enables business owners to serve their customers in new ways as brick and mortar establishments are shut down, and it connects citizens with telehealth opportunities that have become a critical first step in COVID-19 response. Here in Maine, there are quite a few broadband operators who are actively connecting rural communities with unprecedented speeds at affordable prices . While there is still work to be done, we’re seeing a lot of positive development in getting Maine residents working, learning and connecting in important ways through local fiber optic networks.
What role did the Maine Seed Tax Program play in your company’s growth strategy?
The Maine Seed Tax Program has been an invaluable resource in investor outreach. With the understanding that local investments are incentivized through the program, VETRO has had access to private funding that might otherwise be more difficult to secure. We see the program as having been a truly integral piece of our company’s growth.
How does VETRO plan to invest its recently-raised capital?
VETRO plans to make investments in the team in order to grow our core product, the VETRO FiberMap platform. The addition of developers to work on scaling the product and adding features requested by our customers engenders broader interest in the product, moving it up market. In addition, sales and marketing staff will be augmented to reach the largest audience possible for both domestic and international customers.
As communities across the U.S. and the State of Maine evaluate costs associated with broadband infrastructure build-out, what tools does VETRO deploy to assist in early planning and design phases?
VETRO has both high-level cost estimation tools built into the platform, as well as detailed cost estimates to include materials, labor, equipment, and soft costs such as permitting and engineering. In the early planning and design phase, many of our customers use our high-level cost estimation tools to determine the best network architecture to deploy at the feasibility stage of the project. We are also able to connect users to the data they need – information like business points data or eligible FCC or USDA auction blocks – right in the platform for efficient, real-time planning initiatives.
What is the importance of good network mapping and why is this process challenging for communities?
Network mapping, fiber management and inventory are critical for the ongoing maintenance of any fiber optic network, minimizing downtime. Often, due to multiple providers sharing common physical assets, the entire connectivity of a network is difficult to assess in real-time. Through the VETRO mapping interface, a community can easily see their own fiber assets, as well as how they are connected to partner assets (cables, data centers, exchange points) . At the community level, much of a network map may reside in static files such as AutoCAD, limiting visibility across all departments which can be a challenge – VETRO removes the challenge by bringing the data to life through interactive, geospatial and context-specific tools.
Last modified: June 18, 2021