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.  Three grants were awarded in the first round and two the second round to two utilities. The Request for Proposals for the final round was issued on March 9, 2020.

The program awards 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.

Current Round of Funding:

Third 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 to seven additional grants will be award.  UPDATED: Proposals are due June 19th with an early decision if proposals are submitted by April 24. Request for Proposals.

 

Previous Rounds of Funding:

  • SPRING 2020 EARLY DECISION:In this round, open to non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, cooperatives, distribution utilities, communications union districts, and other government entities, up to seven additional grants will be award. Three of these awards will be early decisions.
  • 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 $34,000 for a feasibility study and business plan to formalize a public-private partnership with Consolidated Communications 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.
    • 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.

GRANT DETAILS

The following sections are included in the grant specifications (for more detailed information about these sections please see the Broadband Innovation Grant Program Application Guidance Document):

  • Activity Supported Under this Grant: Proposals should be structured to include activities that determine the viability of different innovative strategies for enabling broadband deployment in rural unserved and underserved areas of Vermont.
  • Feasibility Study: Proposals should include a feasibility study designed to collect information regarding project development, financing, and deliverables.  
  • Business Plan: Proposals deemed feasible will be invited to create an actionable business plan for a potential broadband solution with speeds at a minimum of 25/3 Mbps.
  • Project Description: Proposals must include a detailed project description including how specific technology will be deployed and evaluated.

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