This month, we’ve taken several concrete steps toward building a 1,200-mile high speed fiber network — applying for a major construction grant, ordering millions of dollars in materials, and seeking contractors to do the actual network build. These are the foundation stones of CVFiber as a sustainable enterprise. All this and more, as we get closer and closer to the start of construction this fall.
- CVFiber applies for a $12 million grant for the first phase of construction.
- Business, construction, and universal service plans are in place.
- We are ordering materials needed for initial construction.
- We are establishing a warehouse to store materials.
- WCVT has been chosen as network manager.
- We are seeking construction contractors for building the network.
- Two more towns have committed grant funds to CVFiber.
- For those who missed it, last week’s webinar can be viewed online.
- Laurie Beth Putnam is CVFiber’s new Treasurer.
And now, the details!
Major Grant Application
Last week, CVFiber applied for a $12 million construction grant from the Vermont Community Broadband Board. The funds will be used for continuing design, performing make ready, ordering materials, and strand and lash construction
The Broadband Board will be reviewing the network design and evaluating CVFiber’s universal service plan, business plan and financial model before awarding the grant. Board approval is expected at its meeting on July 12th.
This grant is in addition to the $6 million grant awarded last month to procure materials and establish a warehouse.
Plans in Place
That construction grant application was the culmination of three-plus years of hard work. The Broadband Board required solid proof that CVFiber is prepared to build the entire network on time and on budget, and provide fast Internet service to our entire 21-community district.
Before submitting the application, the CVFiber Governing Board approved detailed business, construction, and universal service plans at its June 14 meeting. The business plan is a living document that serves as a guide to CVFiber business operations. The four-year construction plan covers all phases of network buildout. The service plan outlines how we will reach all eligible addresses in our 21-community district.
Going Shopping for Network Materials
CVFiber’s Executive Committee has approved materials purchase orders for the first phase of construction. The fiber is in hand or on order, but there’s a lot of other technology that goes into a high speed network. Because of the federal government’s push for universal broadband, there’s heavy demand for these items. We’re prioritizing the most crucial materials for initial construction, especially those with the longest lead times.
WCVT is Network Manager and ISP
The Executive Committee approved a contract with Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom to become the CVFiber network manager and Internet service provider. CVFiber and WCVT are making plans to provide service to subscribers when make ready, construction, and electronics are in place later this year.
Warehouse and Supply Chain Services
The Governing Board has authorized negotiations with KGPCo for warehouse and supply chain services. CVFiber is searching for warehouse and storage yard space, and may partner with other Communications Union Districts to fulfill that need.
Seeking Construction Contractors
CVFiber has issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) for the construction of the CVFiber Community Network. We’re looking for one or more contractors who can begin construction this fall and complete the buildout over the next four years. The deadline for bids is June 30. More information here.
Two More Communities Qualify for Matching Offer
The towns of Moretown and Orange have joined four others (Cabot, Middlesex, Waterbury and Worcester) in committing a portion of their federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to CVFiber. Moretown committed $50,000, and Orange $30,000. They qualify for the limited-time match offer from the Vermont Community Broadband Board, so its buying power is doubled. Their grants and their matches will be spent on network construction within their borders.
The six towns’ commitments total $333,000, which means CVFiber will receive $666,000 toward network construction. This matching offer will expire on September 15 or when the Broadband Board’s limit of $1.5 million is reached, whichever comes first. If you want your town to get in on the match, urge your elected officials to take action now!
Webinar Available Online
On Wednesday, June 22, CVFiber leadership hosted a webinar for district residents. Roughly 40 people attended in person. CVFiber Board Chair Jerry Diamantides gave a brief presentation on progress to date and what comes net. There were plenty of good questions from attendees. The archived presentation has been posted online. We’re expecting to offer webinars on a regular basis, most likely every other month, so stay tuned for details.
Putnam Appointed Treasurer
The Governing Board has appointed Laurie Beth Putnam of Northfield as CVFiber Treasurer. Putnam is an accountant and IRS registered tax preparer with experience in for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, and specifically in dealing with grant funds. Her qualifications make her a great fit for the position.
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.