CVFiber has begun network developer and operator negotiations with the joint partnership of three firms -- the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) and Mission Broadband. This is a major step forward to delivering 100/100 Mbps, broadband service to all addresses connected to the electrical grid in the 21 communities in the CVFiber Communications Union District, including Moretown. According to CVFiber chair, Jeremey Hansen, CVFiber believes that it has selected a team that shares its values and brings extensive experience building and operating a future-proof fiber-optic network.
“This partnership brings real-life expertise and commitment to the development of public fiber infrastructure by combining our local resources with a third-generation, family-owned Vermont internet service provider and a telecom cooperative with national reach,” said Hansen.
The CVFiber community network will consist of more than 1,200 miles of fiber-optic cable, cost approximately $50 million and take four-plus years to construct, depending on funding, materials and labor availability. Construction will begin in 2022. The goal is to provide access to 50% of the unserved and underserved in the first two years, 80% by the end of the third year. Underserved is defined as those on the electric grid who have less than 25/3 Mbps service. The partners will leverage town, state and federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure projects.
“Creating a universally available, fast, reliable and affordable internet option as soon as we can is critical to meeting the economic, educational, health and social needs of our residents and businesses,” Hansen said.
Once an agreement has been reached, CVFiber expects NRTC to be responsible for design and engineering, managing materials supply and managing and overseeing construction. WCVT would be responsible for the operation and management of the CVFiber community network, managing subscriber onboarding and providing customer support. Mission Broadband would be responsible for program management, administrator support and business and coordination support.
This strategic partnership will bring high-speed fiber optic internet service to thousands of unserved or underserved addresses and provide a locally-governed nonprofit alternative for those with access to commercially-operated services. “Underserved” is defined as speeds slower than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
CVFiber is a Vermont Communications Union District (CUD) made up of 21 member communities. Its governing board includes representatives of every community. It plans to build a fiber-optic network that can deliver universal internet service at speeds of 100/100 Mbps or more to approximately 7,000 underserved households. This requires construction of more than 1,200 miles of fiber-optic cable.
Service is expected to be available in some areas by the end of 2022; the goal is to complete the project in five years. Meeting that target will depend on funding, availability of materials and skilled labor. It could take up to seven years to complete. The partners will leverage state and federal grant funding available to CUDs for fast internet projects.