Vermonters can celebrate. A local Internet provider has come up with a plan to offer broadband access in the state’s most remote areas.

FairPoint Communications, Charlotte, N.C., announced it will provide 100 percent broadband coverage to its customers in half of its Vermont telephone exchanges by the end of 2010.

FairPoint gained 99 telephone exchanges in its March 31, 2008, acquisition of Verizon’s wireline business in Vermont. The locations of the 51 exchanges with full coverage are divided among all the state’s 14 counties.

Gov. Jim Douglas extolled the plan, saying it will help Vermont become the nation’s first “e-state, where affordable broadband and wireless technology is available to everyone and where no one is left behind.”

In order to provide complete coverage, FairPoint has identified a logical and low-cost solution, WiMax. The company will continue to expand the existing wired network as it has since April, shortly after the acquisition, and it also will integrate the wireless technology to extend the reach of its network to less densely populated areas.

WiMax delivers high-speed Internet service to customers over high-speed wireless connections by placing a small WiMax terminal at the customer location that enables access to the FairPoint next generation network.

Nortel and Airspan Networks reported that the companies will supply 802.16d WiMax equipment for the deployment, which, because it will operate in the 3.65 GHz band, is unlicensed and relatively inexpensive.

“With the advanced capabilities of our new next generation network, WiMax was the obvious technology choice to complement our wired technology and quickly expand high-speed Internet service to customers in less densely populated areas,” said Michael Brown, vice president of broadband and access engineering for FairPoint.

To enable this integrated approach, FairPoint also is building a new IP-based next generation network. This 100 percent fiber-based core network is extremely flexible and capable of integrating multiple access technologies, including DSL, WiMax and fiber to the premises. This will allow FairPoint to offer multiple services across the same secure network platform.