Vermont Community Broadband Board

Content tagged with "Vermont Community Broadband Board"

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

New Documentary Showcases Vermont's Unique Community Broadband Approach

A new documentary, produced by the Vermont production company Well Told Films and the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB), tells the uplifting story of how community-minded Vermonters came together to solve a common challenge: the lack of high-speed Internet connectivity across the Green Mountain State.

Connected: Vermont’s Grassroots Effort for Rural Broadband” recently premiered at the Capitol Theater in Montpelier, giving viewers a front-row seat at how hundreds of volunteers (and later state leaders) rallied around the emergence of Communications Union Districts (CUDs) as the state's primary vehicle to bring high-quality Internet service to every resident and business in one of the most rural states in the nation.

The 35-minute film brings to life the story of how a community-based solution to solving the digital divide in Vermont came to be, while showcasing all of the progress that's been made since ECFiber, the state's first CUD, was established in 2007.

It begins with the celebration of ECFiber completing its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network last year, an event at which U.S. Sen. Peter Welch succinctly summarized why the community broadband movement in Vermont was, and is, necessary:

"All this started with what at the time was really a radical idea – that if we in rural Vermont were going to depend on the big telecommunication companies to wire our homes to get us Internet, we'd be waiting until our grandchildren had grandchildren."

Otter Creek CUD Nabs $9.9 Million Grant For Affordable Fiber Plan

The Otter Creek Communications Union District (CUD) has been awarded a $9.9 million grant by the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB). It’s the latest effort by the state to use CUDs to deliver affordable fiber broadband access to the long-neglected rural corners of Vermont.

According to the CUD’s announcement, the funding will help deploy affordable fiber access to roughly 4,100 homes and businesses by 2025. The fiber deployment will be done in partnership with Consolidated Communications, which says it has deployed fiber to 110,000 Vermont homes and businesses since 2021.

The deployment should ultimately bring broadband access to 85 percent of homes and businesses in the Otter Creek CUD area, which covers 17 towns and one city in and near Rutland, Vermont in the southwestern part of the state as 2,300 of the locations targeted by this latest round of funding currently have no access to any broadband service whatsoever.

Vermont CUD map

“We’re excited to work collaboratively with Consolidated to bring future-proof Internet to the 18 communities within our CUD,” Otter Creek CUD Chair Laura Black said in a statement. “This funding will put us well on our way to meeting the goal of universal service in the Rutland region, bringing all the opportunities that come with reliable, high-speed internet. The Otter Creek CUD board is proud to be on the way to bringing the broadband infrastructure this community needs to participate in the global economy.”

NEK Broadband Gets $17.5 Million Boost as Vermont CUDs Continue Charge Toward Statewide Broadband Access

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $17.5 million grant to NEK Community Broadband (NEK Broadband), providing another shot in the arm for Vermont’s fast-growing collection of Communications Union Districts (CUDs). Such CUDs continue to play a starring role in Vermont’s efforts to finally conquer the digital divide.

NEK Broadband’s latest grant comes from the USDA’s ReConnect Loan & Grant Program, which helps defray the costs of network hardware and broadband deployment to rural and traditionally underserved U.S. markets.

The program this week doled out an additional $714 million in grants and loans to projects across 19 states.

NEK Broadband officials say its $17.5 million award will be combined with a $5.8 million investment to deliver affordable fiber access to 3,295 homes, 94 businesses, 183 farms and 11 educational facilities across 22 towns in Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties in Vermont.

NEK Broadband logo

“For too long, large pockets of our state have been denied this critical resource because companies haven’t found it profitable enough to invest,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said in an announcement of NEK’s latest grant. “This federal funding is transformative, because the money is going directly to the very communities who will benefit, instead of having to go through those who care more about profits than delivering service.”