Letter to the Editor: Deerfield Valley News
To the Editor,
The one key thing to know about DV Fiber is that, where there was none before, we finally have a path to secure high speed broadband for all unserved and underserved folks in our communities. Commercial vendors will never complete this task due to their bottom line considerations.
Many years ago Congress decided that broadband would be delivered through the market economy and not a regulated framework like rural electrification. That decision has had the direct result of leaving substantial parts of America without access to what is increasingly thought of as “a societal nervous system – a growing global network of awareness and intelligence…” This is especially damaging in Vermont as we are the second most rural State in America.
To address this shortcoming the Vermont Legislature created a framework where Towns can come together to form special municipal entities called Communication Union Districts, known as CUDs. Five Deerfield Valley towns did just that last Town Meeting. We have now grown to 16 towns, each appointing a Representative and one or more Alternates to our Governing Board. We have created three working Committees to guide our work: the Vendor Committee advises on our technology work, the Communications Committee which has developed our web site and a quarterly newsletter, and a Finance and Audit Committee whose job is to find us the financial wherewithal to pay for the estimated $44 million dollars it will cost to build the infrastructure required to connect to all our homes and business throughout our district.
What I especially appreciate about Mike Kirby as expressed in his letter in last week’s Deerfield Valley News is that he took the time to read our business plan which can be found on line. The plan lays out the steps we have to undertake to design and build the fiber network, and yes, it is certainly frustrating to read that the whole roll out may take several years. Thank you to Mr. Kirby for raising this subject.
The faster we find the financing, the sooner the job will be done. Among the opportunities in the CUD legislation is access to financial markets such as the Municipal Bond Bank and VEDA loans. We have hopes that new Federal legislation will provide accelerated funding for infrastructure, including broadband. In addition we are actively applying for grants and to date have received a $100,000 grant to do pole studies in three of our most unserved towns. That work is underway now. In addition we have submitted an application for additional grant money to complete pole studies in the rest of our towns and begin high level engineering.
We welcome members of the public to become involved with one of our Committees to help us move forward. If you have technology skills, or are a good writer, or have a financial background, please come help us. We are an all volunteer organization, and we have accomplish a lot in the six months since our first organizational meeting. Please attend one of our virtual Governing Board meetings the third Wednesday of the month. We are a municipality, and we hold public meetings. You can find our agendas with instructions on how to join the meeting on our website.
We are on our way, and we will move just as fast as we can. Broadband is no longer a luxury.
Ann Manwaring, Chair of the Governing Board
Deerfield Valley Communications Union District