Consolidated Communications will build a fiber network in Lamoille County, Vermont that will be funded, in part, through the state. Consolidated will invest almost $10 million in the network and the Lamoille FiberNet communications union district will invest $14.9 million.
A communications union district (CUD) is a uniquely Vermont entity that is comprised of at least two rural communities that come together with the goal of gaining high-speed broadband. The state has 10 CUDs and many of them have been successful in gaining network builds or commitments to builds.
CUDs can raise money through grants, debt and donations but not through taxes. The CUDs have received a considerable amount of funding through government programs.
The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) approved the $14.9 million in funding, including a $1.3 million pre-construction grant and a construction grant valued at almost $13.6 million. The construction grant will go toward making broadband available to approximately 4,800 unserved and underserved homes and businesses.
The network will be built in two phases. The first phase will connect 4,170 addresses and is expected to be completed in 2024. When completed, service will be available to all unserved and underserved addresses in Belvidere, Eden, Johnson, Hyde Park, Morristown, Waterville, the Lamoille FiberNet portions of Elmore and Wolcott, and parts of Stowe and Cambridge. Phase 2 will include the remaining parts of Stowe and Cambridge and is planned for 2025.
Phase 2 will require additional funding, but according to a press release, the amount needed is “substantially less” in comparison with the investment made to date.
Consolidated has a similar deal with another Vermont CUD, known as Southern Vermont CUD.
“Affordability is a key reason Fidium Fiber was chosen to serve Lamoille County,” said Lisa Birmingham, Lamoille FiberNet’s interim executive director, in a press release about the Consolidated Vermont CUD plans. Fidium is the brand name that Consolidated uses for its fiber broadband services.
“Their prices are significantly lower than most providers,” Birmingham said, also noting that Consolidated participates in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program.
Additional information about Vermont broadband, including links to state funding programs and other resources, including Telecompetitor coverage, can be found on the Broadband Nation page for Vermont.