The work of providing fast Internet to our 21 member communities is off to a strong start with progress to report in many areas. First, the headlines.
- The Vermont Community Broadband Board has approved a $2.8 million preconstruction grant for CVFiber.
- The pole inventory in the first five communities is more than 50% complete.
- The pole inventory will begin in 12 more towns in November.
- The network high-level design is on track for completion by the end of this year.
- CVFiber is seeking $3.5 million from member community ARPA grants in 2022.
- CVFiber’s 2021 Annual Report and 2022 budget are posted on our website.
- CVFiber is evaluating bids to operate the network and is negotiating contracts for accounting and auditing services.
- Twelve communities are targeted for construction and service in 2022.
Another $2.8 million is on its way
On October 18, the Vermont Community Broadband Board unanimously approved CVFiber’s application for a $2.8 million preconstruction grant. (The VCBB is in charge of dispersing federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for broadband service.) This is our single biggest grant to date — in fact, it’s bigger than all our previous grants combined.
The money will cover the rest of the pole inventory, and both high-level and detailed design for 17 of our member communities, but does not include the make-ready work described in the next section. This grant is a huge step toward actual construction and the provision of Internet service in 2022.
Work is more than 50% complete for the pole inventory in the initial group of five towns: Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown and Worcester. The inventory will soon spread to 12 additional communities: Barre Town, Cabot, Duxbury, Elmore, Marshfield, Northfield, Orange, Plainfield, Roxbury, Washington, Williamstown, and Woodbury. That work is likely to begin in November, and should be complete by the end of the year.
CVFiber must gather precise information on each pole’s location, condition, and available connections in order to design and build the fiber network. This includes poles on private property. Crews will attempt to contact you if they need to enter your property; they are wearing bright construction vests and their vehicles display CVFiber magnetic signs.
“We are finding that most poles will require some make-ready work,” said CVFiber project manager Jerry Diamantides. The prep work may be as simple as clearing brush, or as effortful as replacing entire poles. This is not unexpected; Jeremy Hansen, chair of the CVFiber Governing Board, noted that pole improvement is built into the cost projections for the preconstruction process.
The engineering firm Vantage Point Solutions is more than 20% done with the high-level design of the entire CVFiber network, and should be finished by the end of 2021. The network design is being done in two phases. First, the high-level design will map out the structure of the system. Then, a detailed design will include specific “service drops” to each address. That design should be done in early 2022.
Seeking Community Support
The construction of the CVFiber Community Network is dependent on grant funding for construction and for lower subscription rates. While CVFiber anticipates the Vermont Community Broadband Board will provide a significant construction grant for 2022, it falls millions of dollars short from the estimated costs to construct the network in the twelve communities in Areas A and B. CVFiber is seeking $3.5 million in contributions from these communities in 2022.
Members of CVFiber’s Governing Board are approaching their towns to seek a portion of each community’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The more grants we receive, the less money we’ll have to borrow. That will keep down the cost of subscription rates for CVFiber’s 100/100 Mbps Internet service.
Board members are getting a warm welcome from town officials. “My Select Board was very excited about how things are going,” said Siobhan Perricone, delegate from Orange and Vice Chair of CVFiber’s Governing Board. In many cases, town leaders themselves suffer from slow Internet or even none at all. They are especially eager for CVFiber to succeed. If you share that view, please reach out to your elected officials and tell them that fast Internet needs to be a priority.
Annual Report and 2022 Budget
The 2021 Annual Report presents what CVFiber has accomplished in 2021, our priorities, construction and service plans for 2022, and the 2022 projected Funds and Budget.
Network Operator, Accountant and Auditor
Twelve Communities Are Targeted for Construction and Service in 2022
We’re happy to report on all this preliminary work, but the biggest question in your mind is probably “When will we actually get fast Internet?”
CVFiber’s goal is to provide 100/100 Mbps service to every address in our district. Most district residents can access nothing faster than 25/3 Mbps, and many can’t even get that.
Our first priority is reaching the 6,100 addresses that are unserved or underserved by existing Internet providers. Underserved is defined as those who are unserved or getting less than 25/3 Mbps service. The goal is to make service available to 50% of those locations in 2022, 80% in 2023, and 95% in 2024. Achieving these goals will depend on availability of funds, materials, and labor.
Here are the targets for 2022:
How to Reach CVFiber
CVFiber is a nonprofit municipality and we welcome your input. Contact us.
You can also reach out to your member of the Governing Board, which includes one delegate and one alternate from each of our 21 communities. A list of delegates and alternates can be viewed on our Governance page.