Broadband Innovation Grant Program

Overview

The Broadband Innovation Grant program was launched on August 6, 2019, to help communities conduct feasibility studies and create business plans related to the deployment of broadband in rural, unserved and underserved areas of Vermont. The program awarded up to $60,000 per grant to eligible grantees including non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, cooperatives, distribution utilities*, communications union districts, and other government entities. Grantees must deliver a feasibility study that proposes new broadband systems with minimum speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload in unserved or underserved areas. The awards announced on August 13th, 2020 mark the end of the program.

Recipients

  • FINAL ROUND - SUMMER 2020:In this round, open to non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, cooperatives, distribution utilities, communications union districts, and other government entities, funding is available for up to two Applicants to receive full-price awards and a third to receive a partial award during this final round. 
  • SPRING 2020: In this round, open to non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, cooperatives, distribution utilities, communications union districts, and other government entities, up seven grants were awarded. 
    • Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) will evaluate the feasibility of deploying fiber to the home in the underserved areas in all 21 towns in Addison County.
    • Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) will evaluate the feasibility of deploying fiber to the home in the underserved areas of 15 of the 27 towns within Rutland County.
    • Kingdom Fiber plans to evaluate the provision of FTTP within 500 feet on either side of the 170 mile Northeastern Kingdom Dark Fiber Network, to which Pear Networks holds an Indefeasible Right of Use license. This network will pass through 22 towns and a gore. Second, Pear Networks will evaluate the provision of broadband to the interior of those towns and neighboring towns. 
    • The Northern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) plans to pursue funding through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and will partner with either an electric utility or existing internet service provider. NEK Broadband
    • Southern Vermont Communications Union District will evaluate the feasibility of deploying fiber to the home in the underserved areas of Bennington County.
    • Lamoille County Planning Commission will study the feasibility of serving the underserved parts of seven towns (Belvidere, Waterville, Cambridge, Johnson, Eden, Hyde Park, and Wolcott).
  • WINTER 2019: In this round, the Department invited applications from electric utilities to conduct feasibility studies and to create business plans related to the deployment of broadband in rural unserved and underserved areas of Vermont. Two grants were awarded in Spring 2020.
    • Washington Electric Cooperative will receive up to $60,000 to complete a feasibility study and business plan that contemplates cost-effective solutions like hybrid fiber/wireless systems that avoid the high cost of lengthy drops for their most remote customers. 

      Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc will receive up to $60,000 to complete a feasibility study and business plan that contemplate an area-by-area buildout of their service territory. By starting with only part of their service territory, they can ground-truth the assumptions from their study and plan. 

  • ​​FALL 2019: In this round, open to non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, cooperatives, distribution utilities, communications union districts and other government entities, the Department reviewed seven applications and awarded the following three grants:
    • CVFiber will receive $60,000 to complete a feasibility study and business plan for providing high-speed broadband to each of its 17 member municipalities, including 755 locations in its territory that lack access to broadband with speeds of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload.
    • Newbury REDInet District will receive $35,799 for a feasibility study and business plan to formalize a public-private partnership with Matrix Design Group to achieve a “town-wide-fiber-to-the-premises” network. REDInet has also secured over $25,000 in ThinkVermont Innovation and USDA Rural Business Development grants. (Amended August 2020)
    • Windham Regional Commission (WRC) will receive $60,000 to perform a feasibility study and business plan for providing “fiber-to-the-premises” in all 27 of its member towns through the creation of a new Communication Union District including 2,323 premises currently without access to broadband.

For more information on the Broadband Innovation Grant Program
Please contact Clay Purvis at 1-802-371-9655 or clay.purvis@vermont.gov.