A Changing of the Guard
Greetings and Happy New Year. After almost four years of planning and organizing, this is the year when CVFiber will begin construction and limited service! As preparations continue, CVFiber is going through some leadership transitions. Here are the highlights from this month’s update:
- CVFiber founder Jeremy Hansen steps aside as Chair of the Governing Board.
- Jerry Diamantides of Berlin is elected Chair of the Governing Board.
- CVFiber is searching for a full-time Executive Director.
- The pole inventory begins in 11 more communities.
- CVFiber will provide an update to all member towns for Town Meeting Day.
- CVFiber has improved the cvfiber.net website.
And now, the details.
Hansen Steps Aside
Jeremy Hansen, the founder of CVFiber, has stepped aside from his position as chair of the Governing Board. After nearly four years at the helm, Hansen said, “It’s my intention to step aside so I can get back to doing my research and spending more time with my kids.” Hansen is an associate professor of computer science at Norwich University.
Since being elected the first chair of the Governing Board on May 8, 2018, Hansen has spearheaded the effort to bring high-speed broadband to every address connected to the electrical grid in our 20-member communities.
During Hansen’s tenure CVFiber completed a feasibility study, a business plan, a pole inventory of five towns, and a network design contract to the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative. It also engaged in negotiations with Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom to become the network operator, began the pre-construction phase of the project, and won more than $3 million in grant awards.
Jerry Diamantides, Berlin’s delegate on the Governing Board, credited Hansen with bringing CVFiber “from a concept with a guy standing at the door seeking signatures to an organization with a multi-million-dollar budget and a path forward to broadband.”
Henry Amistadi, who represents Duxbury on the Board, said “Thank you for the breadth of skills you brought to the project. Your technological expertise, management and leadership made you a great leader for the group.”
Hansen promised to remain involved in the effort. “I definitely want to be there for the kickoff and ribbon cutting when our first service goes online,” he said.
Diamantides Elected Chair
After Hansen stepped down at the Governing Board’s January 11, 2022 meeting, the Board elected Jerry Diamantides as its new Chair.
Diamantides has been involved with CVFiber since its founding. He has served on the Governing Board, as CVFiber treasurer, and most recently as project manager. He has over 25 years of national consulting experience in construction planning, project evaluation, and project management. “Bringing reliable and affordable broadband service to CVFiber’s member communities is a highlight of my career,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of the team performing this invaluable work for our community.”
CVFiber Seeks Full-Time Executive Director
CVFiber has opened a search for an Executive Director. This newly created position will be the first paid full-time post in CVFiber’s history as a volunteer-led organization. This is a necessary step in CVFiber’s development as we prepare to begin construction of a 1,200-mile, $50 million fiber network, with all the increased activity that that entails. The goal is to fill the position by April.
The Executive Director will provide leadership to CVFiber; be responsible for carrying out the successful development and operation of our community network with our contracted partners; engage and collaborate with our communities, other communications union districts, utilities, organizations, and state government. The full job description is posted on the “Careers” page of CVFiber’s website.
Pole Inventory Moving Forward
The pole inventory is complete in the first five towns surveyed: Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown and Worcester. Our contractors, Apex and Tilson, have been issued Notices to Proceed to expand the inventory to 11 additional communities: Barre Town, Cabot, Duxbury, Marshfield, Northfield, Orange, Plainfield, Roxbury, Washington, Williamstown, and Woodbury.
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.
Completion of this phase is dependent on winter weather. Some poles may be inaccessible if the snow is thick on the ground. We will complete the work as quickly as possible.
Keeping Our Municipal Partners Informed
Governing Board members Ray Pelletier (Northfield) and David Healy (Calais) have prepared a report on CVFiber’s progress to be included in Town Meeting packets in our 21 member communities. The Board’s delegates and alternates plan to attend their Town Meeting if possible and make themselves available to answer questions. You can also contact your delegate or alternate any time through the Governing Board’s webpage of our website.
CVFiber is seeking a portion of each community’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Any funds from a specific community will be spent on developing the CVFiber Community Network within that community. Every dollar we can raise means a dollar less that we would have to borrow, which would help keep service rates as low as possible. We are hoping for a strong response from communities because the Vermont Community Broadband Board has offered $1.5 million to match town ARPA contribution commitments made to CVFiber by September 15, 2022.
Initial response from towns has been highly favorable. If you believe universal fast Internet would be a benefit to your community, please reach out to your elected officials and let them know of your views.
More Improvements to the CVFiber Website
As CVFiber continues to grow and develop, we’re making changes to our website to make it more informative and easier to navigate. We’ve added a “Search Our Site” function to allow you to find specific information, an introduction to CVFiber’s governing structure including the Board and the four working committees, a listing of all our Requests for Proposal (bids for contract work) under “RFPs and Contracts,” and job listings under “Careers.” We hope this will make our contracting process as transparent as possible.
Also new: a glossary of essential terminology for broadband newcomers, a map of all nine Communications Union Districts in Vermont and contact links for all nine, and a page for CVFiber webinars, videos and presentations. This page includes a link to a July 2021 webinar that provides an overview of CVFiber’s plan to deliver fast Internet to every address connected to the electrical grid in our 21 member communities.
Questions? Connect with CVFiber!
CVFiber is a nonprofit municipality and we welcome your input. You can post inquiries on our Contact page.
You can reach out to your representatives on the Governing Board, which includes one delegate and one alternate from each of our 21 communities. A list of delegates and alternates can be found on our Governing Board page or you can contact your delegation on our Contact page.