The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB), the new state board charged with overseeing broadband development in Vermont, recently approved DVFiber’s $4.1 million grant request. DVFiber can now move ahead with its partner Great Works Internet, Inc. (GWI) of Biddeford, Maine to secure high-speed broadband access for its 24 member towns.
The funding enables DVFiber to proceed with the design and engineering of a high-speed fiber optic network that will reach all unserved and underserved homes and businesses within its 24 member towns. This funding includes preparation of a high-level detailed design, engineering, and preparation of utility poles in the Phase I towns of Halifax, Marlboro, Readsboro, Stamford, Wardsboro, and Whitingham, which are those within the communications union district (CUD) with the most unserved and underserved addresses. We now expect to connect with our first customers by the second half of 2022, to expand construction to most other areas in 2023, and to complete construction to all unserved and underserved premises by the end of 2024.
“I am so proud of the work of our volunteers who wrote this grant application,” said Ann Manwaring, Chair of the DVFiber Governing Board. “Our work to date has laid the groundwork to build and operate a community-based telecommunications network to offer universal access to the Internet at gigabit speeds. We are now poised to begin the actual construction of the network. The pre-construction activities funded in this grant will serve as the basis for our next grant, covering actual construction of fiber to homes and businesses.”
The federal government funding comes to Vermont through the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is being awarded through the VCBB to provide universal access to high-speed Internet.
“We are proud to be a partner and collaborator to DVFiber and all the communities,” said Kerem Durdag, President and COO of GWI. “The journey to getting 21st century broadband infrastructure is now well underway and we are enormously pleased in the trust VCBB has placed with DVFiber. The entire DVFiber team has leaned-in to making sure progress is continuously made and the entire GWI organization is focused and committed to making this once-in-a-lifetime project be successful.”
DVFiber will apply to the VCBB in early 2022 for additional federal funding to begin Phase I network construction as soon as possible. Phase II construction, including the towns of Brattleboro, Brookline, Dover, Dummerston, Guilford, Jamaica, Londonderry, Newfane, Putney, Searsburg, Stratton, Townshend, Vernon, Westminster, Weston, Wilmington, Windham and Winhall will follow immediately thereafter.
“ValleyNet has partnered with GWI to provide construction management, network operations, and customer Internet access to DVFiber. ValleyNet brings CUD and local operations expertise, and GWI will provide the resources and talent of a larger telecommunications organization. The pre-construction grant funding will be helpful in reducing the costs of this powerful, fiber-to-the-premises universal access network. It has been and continues to be a pleasure to work with the dedicated, talented volunteersof DVFiber,” stated ValleyNet Board Chair Carol Monroe.