We are sufficiently finished with pole inventory and design that the stage is set for what CVFiber Governing Board Chair Jerry Diamantides calls “the summer of make ready.” That’s the process of preparing each utility pole to receive a new fiber attachment.
Meanwhile, preparations are being made for construction and network operation. “Things are really rolling along here,” said Diamantides. “All of a sudden, everyone is working full tilt.”
Here’s a list of the items in this month’s Community Update.
- Make ready will begin this summer.
- The first in a series of informational webinars will be held on June 22.
- Four communities have committed town ARPA funds to CVFiber, and are seeing their grants matched dollar for dollar.
- A business plan and construction plan are in the works for the actual buildout.
- We are seeking contractors for materials purchasing and construction.
- All of CVFiber’s officers save one have been re-elected unanimously. The Governing Board is seeking a part-time staff treasurer.
Now for the details!
Make Ready Begins This Summer
There are more than 25,000 poles in the CVFiber network. Each pole must be prepared to host a connection to the fiber network. These poles are owned or controlled by Green Mountain Power, Washington Electric Cooperative, Hardwick Electric, or Consolidated Communications.
Our contractors are submitting pole license applications to the pole owners to begin the process of performing make ready. The work will either be performed by the owner or by CVFiber through its contractors. All the costs will be borne by CVFiber.
The “summer of make ready” will involve work on 200-plus miles with the clearing of vegetation, the trimming of trees, and the creation of space for CVFiber to hang its fiber. Construction begins when the materials are on hand and make ready work is sufficiently progressed so that the construction crews aren’t delayed awaiting completion of make ready.
Keep Informed: Webinar Series Coming Soon
CVFiber plans to begin holding a series of webinars to keep our communities informed of our progress. You’ll be able to tune in live and participate; the sessions will also be archived on the CVFiber website. The first webinar is scheduled for June 22. Time and details to be announced.
Four Towns Commit Federal ARPA Funds
So far, four of CVFiber’s 21 member communities have committed a portion of their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funds to CVFiber for broadband construction. The Worcester Select Board is contributing $53,000, and the Cabot and Waterbury Select Boards have committed $50,000 apiece. Most recently, the Middlesex Select Board committed $100,000.
Thanks to a limited-time offer from the Vermont Community Broadband Board, the towns’ contributions will be matched. Between the town grants and matches, more than a half million dollars has been committed to the CVFiber network! All the funds, grant and match, will be spent within the granting town’s borders. This offer will expire on September 15 or when $1.5 million in matches have been given, whichever comes first. If your town hasn’t yet contributed, please contact your town officials and urge them to act on this double-your-money offer.
NRTC Developing Construction Plans
CVFiber has issued a Design Services Work Order to the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) for the next phases of network design. NRTC is also creating business and construction plans. These will give us a solid foundation as we move toward the beginning of construction.
CVFiber Seeking Construction Partners
CVFiber is seeking bids from contractors for different phases of network construction by issuing “requests for proposal” (RFPs). An RFP for materials, warehouse services, and supply chain services was issued on May 3 with proposals due on May 23. With the federal government underwriting broadband development across the country, there can be months-long delays in delivery of crucial materials. We can’t start construction until we have those materials in hand.
Coming in the near future: RFPs for make ready and construction. All RFPs and other contract information are posted on our website.
At its May meeting, the Governing Board conducted its annual election of officers. Three incumbents were re-elected without opposition: Chair Jerry Diamantides of Berlin, Vice Chair Siobhan Perricone of Orange, and Clerk Jeremy Matt of Plainfield. The Board’s Treasurer, Phil Cecchini of Barre Town, is stepping down from his post to focus on his full-time job.
CVFiber is in the process of hiring a part-time treasurer to keep up with the increasing pace of business and the processing of millions of dollars in funds. The position pays $1,000 per month. More information is available here. Qualified individuals with relevant experience should send a resume and letter of interest to: [email protected] The Board hopes to make an appointment at its June 14 meeting.
Connect With CVFiber
You can reach out to your representatives on the Governing Board, which includes one delegate and one or more alternate(s) 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 through our Contact page. You may note that there are vacancies for delegates and alternates. Contact your community’s Select Board or City Council if you are interested in joining a team that is making universal broadband in central Vermont a reality.
We also send regular updates to everyone on our email list. If you’d like to add yourself to the list, you can use the “Subscribe to our Newsletter” option on the CVFiber homepage.
Please also consider volunteering to serve on one of our committees. This is a community-oriented effort; the more people who are involved, the stronger we are.