Consolidated Communications said it expects to reach a key milestone in Vermont this fall when it’s scheduled to complete its fiber broadband buildout in the Southern Vermont Communications Union District (SoVT CUD). In addition, the Deerfield Valley Communication Union District (CUD), which operates as DVFiber, said it has awarded a contract for a fiber deployment that will serve 24 towns in southern Vermont.
CUDs are Vermont’s approach to getting broadband to communities lacking broadband. A CUD consists of two or more towns that fund operations through grants, debt and donations — but not taxes.
Some CUDs have received funding from the Vermont Community Broadband Board for high-speed broadband deployments. Some maintain ownership of the network.
Consolidated won a deal to deploy symmetrical gigabit service to the SoVT CUD, which is comprised of 14 rural towns, about a year ago.
The company expects to complete that build in the fall, which would make SoVT CUD the first to reach the goal of having broadband available to everyone in the CUD.
Including the SoVT CUD, Consolidated expects to have its Fidium fiber service available to more than 116,0000 locations in Vermont by the end of the year.
“Fidium will be a game changer for these communities, bringing development benefits, employment opportunities, access to health, educational impacts and of course, all the entertainment made possible by high-speed internet,” said Jeffrey Austin, senior director of fiber build strategy for Consolidated, in a press release about the Vermont broadband plans.
DVFiber chose Sertex Broadband Solutions for its GPON deployment. Sertex has has been doing a lot of builds for municipalities and other public entities that want to own their own network, primarily in rural areas of the Northeast.
Sertex says that 214 Vermont towns are members of CUDs. They account for more than 76% of the state’s population and 93% of premises without 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed, the FCC’s definition of broadband.
The DVFiber contract calls for Sertex to install more than 500 miles of fiber plant. The three-year project, which will get underway this month, will include stringing of aerial cable on utility poles and installing cable drops to connect multiport service terminals to the exterior of unserved locations.
Member communities in the DVFiber CUD are Brattleboro, Brookline, Dover, Dummerston, Guilford, Halifax, Jamaica, Londonderry, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Stratton, Townshend, Vernon, Wardsboro, Westminster, Weston, Whitingham, Wilmington, Windham and Winhall.
“Our deployment crews are excited to begin connecting thousands of unserved and underserved residents and businesses in southeastern Vermont to reliable, community-based high speed fiber internet,” Sertex CEO and founder Michael Solitro said in a press release about the Vermont broadband deal. “We understand how important our work is. Gigabit connectivity is truly life changing in rural areas, as it opens new doors for remote work, education, medical care, and economic opportunity.”
Last October, two CUDs won funding awards from the state of Vermont to provide broadband to more than 4,000 underserved addresses in the state.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report