DVFiber is pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Biddeford Internet Corporation d/b/a Great Works Internet (GWI) to develop a definitive agreement to form a public/private partnership in order to bring Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) to all unserved addresses in the towns that are members of the Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVCUD).
DVFiber was formed in March 2020 and has grown to include 24 towns in southeastern Vermont counties. Each town sends a representative and alternates to the governing board. These representatives and other volunteers serving on three committees–Communications, Finance and Audit, and Vendor–have met regularly to advance the goal of bringing broadband to our towns.
In Spring 2020 Windham Regional Commission (WRC) conducted a region-wide survey of over 4000 respondents to determine the feasibility of a Communications Union District (CUD) in the DVFiber member towns. Using information from that survey, a feasibility study was submitted to the Vermont Public Service Department. Once the feasibility study was approved, the WRC commissioned a business plan and presented it to the public in October 2020.
On Thursday, July 1, 2021 the Governing board met and voted to enter into a MOU with GWI, thus beginning the process of cooperatively developing a Definitive Agreement that will address the scope of the RFP and subsequent response. Governance and financial relationships will be defined and a Schedule of Work will detail responsibilities of DVFiber and GWI in regards to multiple areas including engineering and construction, customer service, funding, and more.
Based on the proposal and negotiations DVFiber believes that it has selected a partner that both shares our values and has the experience and expertise to build a future proof FTTP network serving all unserved addresses in our CUD territory. While GWI, a certified B-corporation, and DVFiber are clear-eyed about potential unforeseen challenges, the common goal is to serve all unserved addresses. Since we have begun this process, substantial federal and state funding has been directed towards CUDs. This funding significantly sped up the timelines initially outlined in the WRC business plan. In addition, this funding lessens the need for raising capital via loans which lowers the potential end cost to the consumer. We anticipate being able to offer 125mbs symmetrical service for around $75 a month. Telephone service will be an available option for $25 a month.
GWI has extensive experience deploying and operating FTTP networks. In addition, DVFiber is pleased that GWI’s partner in this proposal, Valley.Net, is a well regarded Vermont entity. DVFiber is excited about working with GWI to complete a network that will aid our towns in education, health care, economic development, socialization, and entertainment for the future.