Countdown for Commitments
It’s countdown season for CVFiber. Time is running short for member towns to take advantage of a matching grant offer, we’re looking forward to full construction as soon as Mud Season is over, and we’re getting ever closer to providing service for our very first customers.
The headlines for this update:
- Another town has taken advantage of a matching grant offer that will expire at the end of May.
- Construction continues to move forward despite the onset of Mud Season.
- Our Operations Manager is on the job and handling the flow of materials.
- We’re preparing for the launch of service in the near future.
- We welcome volunteers to join this historic effort.
And now, the details.
Northfield Steps to the Plate
Big thanks to the town of Northfield, which has committed $90,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to CVFiber. Those dollars will be matched by the Vermont Community Broadband Board, and the full $180,000 will be spent within Northfield’s borders. Such a deal! The town will double its buying power for building high-speed broadband!
Time is running short for this match offer. Until May 31, member communities that have yet to commit $100,000 or more in ARPA funds can top up their investments and see their grants matched up to that $100,000 limit. So far, three of our 20 member communities have committed $100,000 or more. The rest still have the opportunity to join them, but only if they act before the end of May.
These grants also benefit the entire CVFiber district. Every dollar in matching funds we get is one less dollar we’ll have to borrow, and debt financing is a huge factor in the cost of service.
The Tortoise Will Become the Hare
We’re gratified to report that construction continues to advance at a modest pace. We’d expected a Mud Season pause, which hasn’t been necessary so far. Roughly 10 miles of fiber has been laid. We’ve also installed about a half mile of MST tails, the equipment that brings the fiber from the last pole to the service address.
Every bit of progress is one step closer to our network goal. Once Mud Season is behind us, construction will kick into high gear with multiple work crews in the field simultaneously. Our goal of building 400 miles this year may seem optimistic when we’ve only strung 10 miles of fiber, but just wait until we hit our stride.
Operations Manager Hits the Ground Running
Our Operations Manager, Lucas Stubbs, officially started work earlier this month—and just in time, too. He’s meeting with suppliers and contractors, managing a very crowded warehouse space, overseeing the arrival of ordered materials, and coordinating their delivery to construction crews in the field.
Lucas is also connecting with our fellow Communications Union Districts to find materials we need. Every CUD is willing to share materials with the others to help prevent supply chain delays from interfering with construction.
One piece of good news: We have received the cabinets that will make up our first three Optical Line Terminals, the crucial hubs of a fiber network. It’s a great relief to get these items in hand. The nationwide effort to build rural broadband has meant lengthy delays in delivering these cabinets.
Preparing to Launch Service
Within a matter of weeks, CVFiber will begin connecting addresses to the network, and that will be a red-letter day in our history. The first subscribers will be in Calais, where the initial phase of construction has taken place. We’ll begin with a soft launch, in which a few volunteers will be the first to receive service. They’ll help ensure that the network is operating as it should before we go live to other subscribers.
Our creative marketing folks are crafting branding materials including three postcard mailings, while our web developers are coding the Internet service shopping cart and an information page on what services will be available.
We are also working on an equity policy and working with Equal Access to Broadband, a Vermont organization dedicated to closing the digital gap. We are committed to reaching and serving everyone who’s dealing with barriers to access.
CVFiber Wants You!
CVFiber is a community-based effort that relies on volunteers to do much of the necessary work. If you’d like to help with this historic effort, please get in touch. We’re looking for people with a variety of skills and experience, and a desire to bring high-speed broadband to central Vermont. Members of our Governing Board are all volunteers, as are the members of our five committees: Communications, Executive, Finance & Audit, Planning & Operations, and Policy.
You can find more information about our committees and the work they do on the “Governance” section of our website.
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 20 communities. A list of delegates and alternates can be found on our Governing Board page or you can contact your community’s 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.
We also send regular updates to everyone on our email list. If you’d like to add yourself to the list, you can sign up quickly and easily on the CVFiber homepage.