Vermont to Horse: Bring Me Internet!

Wish your Internet was faster? At least you’re not in Vermont. Because of logistical barriers resulting from the state’s densely forested and hilly terrain, high-speed Internet has yet to conquer Vermont. But Vermonters haven’t let this, nor the state’s disparately spread-out population (it’s the only state whose largest city [Burlington] has a population under 50,000) get in the way.

In a maneuver befitting its esteemed place in American hippie culture, Vermont began wiring the state for better connectivity with the help of a horse named Fred and a 66-year-old man named Claude Desmarais, who literally gets paid to wander the state’s woods setting up Internet cables. When asked about the job, Desmarais replied “I figured why not, I was doing it anyway.” (Not really, but still.)

Here’s some more revealing coverage courtesy of High Speed Geek:

Paul Clancy, supervisor of a line crew from FairPoint said, “It just saves so much work – it would take probably 15 guys to do what Fred and Claude can do. They can pull 5,000 feet of cable with no sweat.” The terrain is so rugged it would be impossible to drive a utility truck or the other equipment they would need to clear a way for the trucks…it would leave a path of destruction.

Often the horse and the older burly man will walk 30 feet off a back road in the brush pulling cable from a mammoth truck with a huge reel of cable, and the local residents like it that way. Desmarais told Reuters in an interview, “They like the idea of using a horse, instead of bringing in a bulldozer or something like that. Old Fred would do a lot less damage than a heavy bulldozer.”

Horse Internet

photo credit: Ken Johnson, Creative Commons/flickr