Thanks to relatively mild post-holiday weather, construction has continued. Action is taking place on other fronts as well, including design, make ready, permitting, and materials procurement. The goal is to maintain continuous construction throughout the 2023 season, which may allow completion of more than 400 miles of network out of a total of 1,200 miles. Yes, we’re aiming to build one third of the network this year! Progress depends on a number of factors; the most critical is make ready work on utility poles.
The headlines in this update:
- The latest on construction progress and planning.
- Reminder: you can sign up to receive updates on service availability.
- A new match offer gives towns an opportunity to invest in broadband.
- We’re hiring an operations manager to oversee network operations.
- As we grow, there is a greater need for volunteers to serve on CVFiber committees.
And now the details.
The Latest on Construction
The work began last month in Calais, one of the most underserved communities in our district. We’d expected that winter weather would force a suspension in the buildout, but so far conditions have been good enough to allow consistent progress. The first step is installing a metal strand on each utility pole. As of January 13, 5.29 miles of strand had been completed. Running the fiber will commence as soon as enough strand is in place. That wasn’t expected to happen until February, but it now looks like fiber installation will begin this month.
We’re also making progress toward installation of our first Optical Line Terminal (OLT). An OLT is the source for Internet service in a geographic area, kind of like a substation in an electric grid. It’s a substantial, complicated, and expensive piece of technology. Getting the OLT in place involves siting approval, the pouring of a concrete base, acquiring the OLT and installing it. The buildout is divided into 11 areas; each will have its own OLT.
Meanwhile, the work continues in our effort to prepare for continuous construction throughout the 2023 season. While we’re making good progress on detailed design, reaching pole license agreements with our utility partners, finalizing contracts with construction partners, placing orders for additional materials, make ready work on utility poles will be critical to our nonstop construction goal. We’re also working with our network manager and Internet service provider, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, on the details of installations and business management.
Sign Up for Email Updates on CVFiber Service
Since we began offering email notification for service updates, the initial response has been tremendous. “It was strong and fast as soon as we opened it up,” said CVFiber Executive Director Jennille Smith. On our homepage, you can sign up to be notified when CVFiber service reaches your neighborhood.
If you’re already on our email list, you don’t have to do a thing. If not, simply visit our homepage and enter your street address and email address. When service goes live in your area, you’ll receive an email with details on how to register for Internet service.
As we operate the network, customer information will be collected. But we will not sell that information to anyone. Period. We will share information with contracted vendors as needed, but we require them to adhere to our privacy standards. Further information can be found at the “Policies” page of our website.
Investment Opportunity in Town Broadband
In 2022, member towns recognized the importance of investing in broadband by committing a portion of their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to CVFiber. They made grants totaling $833,000 toward construction of CVFiber’s network. Thanks to a matching offer from the Vermont Community Broadband Board, the money was doubled — and the grant and match funds, $1.66 million in all, will be spent within the respective granting town’s borders.
Good news! The VCBB has extended its match period until May 31, 2023, for grants of up to $100,000 per town. Communities that committed less than $100,000 may want to consider topping off their grants to maximize the investment in their town. If every town did so, it would mean more than $1 million in town grants and state matches. Every dollar we receive is a dollar we won’t have to borrow, and that will help keep down the cost of broadband service to subscribers. Please contact your elected officials and urge them to contribute.
CVFiber Searching for an Operations Manager
We’ve opened the search for a full-time salaried Operations Manager. The person who occupies the position will oversee network operations and Internet service delivery. The ideal candidate will have experience overseeing operations of an Internet service provider. We are looking for a high-character, ambitious, and highly motivated individual who is looking to join an organization seeking to solve broadband inequity in Vermont.
The deadline for applications is February 14 or until the position is filled. A full job description is posted on our website.
We’re Also Looking for More Volunteers
As CVFiber enters full-scale construction and prepares for network operation, the workload is increasing. We’re seeking volunteers to serve on our committees: Communications, Finance & Audit, Planning & Development, and Policy. You can find descriptions of each committee on our website. People with any skills and experience are welcome; we are particularly seeking volunteers who have network operations experience. Please join us! When CVFiber’s network is complete, you’ll be able to say you played a part in making it happen!
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 see vacancies for delegates and alternates. Contact your community’s Select Board or City Council if you are interested in representing your community on the Board.
You can also volunteer to serve on one of our committees: Communications, Finance & Audit, Planning & Development, and Policy. This is a community-run effort that relies on volunteers. The more people who are involved, the stronger we are.
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.