Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) approved three grants totaling $26.45 million to bring broadband to more than 4,000 underserved Vermont addresses.

A total of $9 million has been awarded to Southern Vermont Communications Union District (SoVT CUD), which represents 14 towns in Bennington County. It is partnering with Consolidated Communications to bring broadband to 6,412 addresses across southern Vermont, 1,300 of which are currently underserved.

The CUD, with Consolidated Communications, who will build, maintain, and operate the network, expects all unserved and underserved residents in those 14 towns to have access to multi-gigabit speed internet in 2023 at competitive prices. Service will be delivered by Fidium Fiber, Consolidated Communication’s residential fiber brand.

Eric Hatch, chair of the SoVT CUD, spoke of the benefits of this grant which many groups and individuals worked on to win. “In true Vermont fashion, our communities came together to solve a long-standing problem that held back our state from competing in today’s marketplace. With access to fiber, all 14 towns in the district will have the infrastructure to retain and attract people to southwest Vermont.”

“The VCBB and the CUDs are proud to be working closely with these private telecommunication partners. This collaboration results in much lower construction costs which frees up funding for the harder-to-serve areas of the state. These grants included agreements that will provide ongoing public oversight and accountability,” said VCBB executive director Christine Hallquist.

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

Another $9.1 million has been awarded to the Maple Broadband/Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) partnership to expand fiber-optic broadband into parts of rural Addison County, including Bridport, Ferrisburgh, New Haven, Panton, Waltham, and Weybridge. The source of the grant funding is the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

This project will extend WCVT’s fiber-to-the-home network to approximately 2,000 additional customers in parts of Addison County in the Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom service area. The network can deliver symmetrical broadband speeds of up to 1 Gigabyte to residents.

The first phase of the newly funded project began in spring of 2022. Engineering, design, and preliminary field work are currently in progress.

Finally, $8.35 million has been awarded to WCVT to start the first phase of the build-out to bring broadband to 1,200 underserved addresses in towns that are not part of a CUD. WCVT is adding full build-out in the town of Charlotte and full build-out in the town of Bolton. WCVT will also begin partial build-out work in seven other towns.

The VCBB has awarded $90.25 million in construction grants to date. More information on the distribution of the funds is available at https://bit.ly/3UAeDu8.