About the Program
As provided by Sec. 2 § 8085 of Act No. 71, which became law on June 8, 2021, the purpose of the Broadband Preconstruction Grant Program is to provide grants to CUDs (“Districts”) for preconstruction costs related to broadband projects that are a part of a universal service plan and meet other criteria as specified in Act No. 71. As provided by Sec. 2 § 8085 of Act No. 71, eligible costs include expenses for feasibility studies, business planning, pole data surveys, engineering and design, and make-ready work associated with the construction of broadband networks, including consultant, legal, and administrative expenses, and any other cost deemed appropriate by the Board.
Maple Broadband - Total $2,974,200
Maple Broadband represents 20 Addison County communities. The District has selected Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) as the network operator and completed a high-level design for the network. The Preconstruction Grant will fund pole studies and detailed design. The District hopes to begin construction next year. Note: An additional $781,284 was also awarded for the Prepurchase of Materials to avoid supply chain issues. https://www.maplebroadband.net/
Central Vermont Fiber (CVFiber) - $2,804,667
Central Vermont’s community Internet provider was awarded a $2.8 million pre-construction grant from the Vermont Community Broadband Board at its meeting on October 18th, 2021. “It’s the single largest grant ever for CVFiber, and it clears the way to begin construction of the 1,200 mile, $50 million CVFiber Community Network in 2022,” said Jeremy Hansen, founder and chair of CVFiber. The money will cover the remaining cost of the utility pole inventory for twelve communities, and all of the cost for the detailed engineering design for seventeen of CVFiber’s twenty-one member communities. The pole inventory and high-level design should be completed by the end of this year. The detailed design will begin in 2022 and take about six months. This step is a critical element prior to starting construction. The last preconstruction activity before construction is make-ready, where the poles are prepared for the hanging of fiber. Note: An additional $6,000,000 was later awarded for the Prepurchase of Materials to avoid supply chain issues. https://cvfiber.net/
Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVFiber) - $4,111,318
The Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVFiber) was formed at Town Meetings in March of 2020. The district includes twenty-four (24) member towns in Windham, Bennington and Windsor Counties. The Preconstruction funding enables DVFiber to proceed with the design and engineering of a high-speed fiber optic network that will reach all unserved and underserved homes and businesses within its 24 member towns. This funding includes preparation of a high-level detailed design, engineering, and preparation of utility poles in the Phase I towns of Halifax, Marlboro, Readsboro, Stamford, Wardsboro, and Whitingham, which are those within the communications union district (CUD) with the most unserved and underserved addresses. Note: An additional $1,108,800 was later awarded for the Prepurchase of Materials to avoid supply chain issues. https://dvfiber.net/
Northwest Communications Union District (NWCUD) - $1,275,028 Original; $1,891,818.69 amended
The Northwest Vermont Communications Union District d/b/a NW Fiberworx consists of nineteen (19) towns and villages in Franklin, Grand Isle, Chittenden Counties. NWFX’s first request under the Act 71 Preconstruction Grant Program focuses on organizational capacity, pole study work, and network design. The funding will support hiring professional staff, operation expenses, administrative & legal services. The pole study will involve a physical survey of utility poles in the region, as needed for design planning the construction of a broadband network. Grant activities are critical to the progress and completion of the NWFX's comprehensive business plan and preparing to submit a Construction Grant application. https://www.nwfiberworx.com
NEK Broadband - $6,670,000.00
NEK Broadband is comprised of over fifty (50) towns primarily in the Northeast Kingdom. The $6.67 million in preconstruction grant funding will be used to create a strong and resilient detailed design for our network, develop our internal organizational capacity and pursue pole applications and make ready that will allow us to begin construction in the spring of 2022. "We are excited to expand on the success of our pilot program connecting customers to fiber broadband in the Concord area this year by starting construction on the larger network in 2022," said NEK Broadband Executive Director Christa Shute. "We could not do that without these essential funds."
Note: An additional $1,353,915 was later awarddd
East Central Vermont Telecommunications Union District (ECFiber)- $2,841,130
The East Central Vermont Telecommunications Union District (ECFiber) $2.8 million grant will fund the preparation of detailed network designs for eight (8) new towns which joined ECFiber in 2020: Topsham, Newbury, Washington, Corinth, Bradford, West Fairlee, Fairlee and Windsor, plus some bordering areas where the utility poles carry services starting in district towns. https://www.ecfiber.net/
Lamoille FiberNet - $1,193,885
Lamoille FiberNet Communications Union District (CUD) was recently awarded a grant by the Vermont Department of Public Service through the Vermont Community Broadband Board. Lamoille FiberNet is one of nine CUDs across Vermont working to bring high-speed, synchronous fiber internet connections to Vermont’s communities. Lamoille FiberNet CUD serves Belvidere, Cambridge, Eden, Hyde Park, Johnson, Morrisville, Stowe, Waterville and Wolcott and is in negotiations to add Elmore and Waterbury to their district. The grant which covers costs associated with pre-construction and capacity was for $1,193,885.00. Val Davis the executive director of Lamoille FiberNet said “These funds will go a long way in allowing us to file the necessary applications and complete pre-construction planning and engineering as we are planning to break ground during our first construction season beginning in Summer 2022”. Costs covered include a pole study and pole applications which are required to be able to attach Fiber to the utility poles in LFCUD’s service area.
Otter Creek CUD - $441,000
Otter Creek Communications Union District represents 18 municipalities from Rutland and Addison Counties and is working to build a public private partnership with an existing ISP(s) to build, operate, and maintain high speed Internet infrastructure throughout its coverage area. The Preconstruction Grant will fund the operational expenses incurred while the partner is identified and partnership developed as well as any other operational expenses necessary to keep the OCCUD functional. OCCUD plans to begin construction in 2023. For more information go to https://occud.org/.