Lamoille FiberNet CUD Gets Go-Ahead for Broadband Construction Grant

Source: Lamoille FiberNet

The Vermont Community Broadband Broad (“VCBB”) approved Lamoille FiberNet Communications Union District’s (“Lamoille FiberNet”) $ 13,588,636 construction grant application at the VCBB’s September 11th meeting.

“This grant means that, by the end of 2024, we can bring high-speed internet to almost all the homes and businesses in our CUD that are unserved or underserved,” said Jeff Tilton, Waterville resident and chair of Lamoille FiberNet Communications Union District (CUD). “We are grateful that the VCBB appreciated the merits of our plan, and we are very excited to start building. This plan came about after we explored several models, and we chose Fidium Fiber and Consolidated to build, operate and maintain the fiber network because it is the best option in terms of affordability and sustainability, and it also brings high-speed fiber internet to our communities significantly faster and with less costs than other models.”

The construction grant will fund broadband for approximately 4,800 unserved and underserved Lamoille County homes and businesses, and the 630-mile network will be built in two phases. Phase 1 represents 550 miles — connecting 4,170 addresses — and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Phase 1 will connect all unserved and underserved addresses in Belvidere, Eden, Johnson, Hyde Park, Morristown, Waterville, the Lamoille FiberNet portions of Elmore and Wolcott, and significant portions of Stowe and Cambridge. Phase 2, which is the remaining portions of Stowe and Cambridge, is planned for 2025 and will require additional, but substantially less funding. Detailed design and town-by-town construction plans for Phase 1 will be developed later this fall.

“With this partnership, Fidium will invest almost $10 million dollars to supplement the Lamoille FiberNet grants,” Lisa Birmingham, Lamoille FiberNet’s interim executive director, noted. “Having Fidium’s investment means that our CUD won’t need revenue bond financing, which reduces our financial risks and helps lower costs for our constituents.”

“Affordability is a key reason Fidium was chosen to serve Lamoille FiberNet CUD. Their prices are significantly lower than most providers and they offer the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) for qualifying households,” said Lisa Birmingham.  “Fidium has also committed to using the same pricing and offering the same services to Lamoille FiberNet customers as it offers customers throughout Vermont and northern New England. Birmingham noted that “this partnership also includes multiple performance and customer service commitments, including an extensive installation policy which will substantially reduce and in many cases eliminate out-of-pocket installation costs for consumers. Customers in towns that have pledged local ARPA funds to Lamoille FiberNet may get financial assistance on installations as well.”

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