CVFiber’s most frequently asked question is, “when can I get high speed Internet service?” We are happy to announce that we have started the first project leading to this. CVFiber issued an RFP for Pole Data Collection earlier this month. This is an essential first step for the design and engineering of our network. This work will take place between March and May, 2021. During that time, we will also solicit bids from organizations that want to build and operate our network.
We anticipate constructing the first 120 miles of fiber to the premises (FTTP) in late fall 2021. In addition, we discovered that Washington Electric Coop (WEC) and Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) may be constructing an 8+ mile fiber line between their East Montpelier Substation and the Maple Corner (Calais) substation. They know that CVFiber will be able to take advantage of that line to serve up to 129 households and businesses along its path in Calais and East Montpelier.
We plan to sign a longer-term partnership Memorandum of Understanding with WEC that enables us to build out our network at a much faster rate in their territory, as WEC can borrow money at very low interest rates for a longer period than CVFiber can at this time. Their goals are two-fold: serving their members and building a more robustly managed electrical network.
Canvassing Survey—Encouraging Results
More than 1,300 Central Vermont households and businesses responded to our recent canvassing to determine the level of support for subscribing to CVFiber’s coming highspeed broadband network. Over 81% of respondents said that they would either “definitely” or “probably” subscribe to our service. Of the 870 household who answered the question, 64% said that they would be willing to pre-subscribe and 17% indicated that they would donate money to help build the network.
This effort was conducted by CVFiber’s contractor, Last Mile Community Connections. They called or contacted more than 4,500 households in the District between December 1st 2020 and January 15th 2021.
On December 30, 2020, CVFiber launched a brand new website. The goals of the new website were to make it easier to navigate, more accessible for users on mobile devices and/or with disabilities, to include more content explaining how we are structured and operate, and to make it all around more professional. To that end, we leveraged a grant from the state to contract with two professional firms: Expand Creative Group out of Boston, MA to handle designing a new logo; and Codewryter, based in Brookline, VT to design and develop the new site.
Project Manager Sought
We developed a scope of work for a Project Manager who will be responsible for overseeing all the contractual work that CVFiber will be carrying out over the next three to five years. This includes the pole inventory, pole make-ready applications, system design, engineering, and construction of our network. We anticipate hiring a firm or person on a contractual basis for this role in the next few months.
CVRPC to Provide Needed Planning and Administrative Support
CVFiber contracted with the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC) to provide administrative support services. These services include: Planning Services, Grant Writing, RFP development, records management, meeting and general support. Our all-volunteer board has been doing all these functions over the last two plus years. This effort is being partially supported with funding from the Vermont Community Fund.
Over the last year, CVFiber has received grant funding from the State of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation:
Broadband Innovation Grants
This $60,000 grant from the Department of Public Service allowed us to complete our 20-community Feasibility Study and Business Plan last summer.
COVID-Response Connected Community Resilience Program Grant
Two rounds of grant funds were awarded to CVFiber by the Public Service Department. The first grant of $100,000 supported the district in hiring a short-term Project Manager. It enabled us to hire a consultant to develop a Fixed Wireless Planning analysis. In addition we were able to update our Feasibility Study & Business Plan to include the newly added towns of Duxbury and Washington and administrative support. The second-round grant of $300,000 was used to conduct a canvassing survey, update our website, and to initiate two fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) projects. This will enable to deliver high speed broadband to 100 homes in Moretown, Northfield and Roxbury.
Want to Help?
CVFiber is always on the lookout for community members (individuals or businesses) who want to contribute to our efforts. Learn more about how to contribute.