On Monday, December 13, 2021, at 10:00 AM, the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB), in coordination with the Vermont Communications Union Districts (CUDs), NEK Broadband, VSECU, the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF), and other partners will hold a press event to announce an innovative deal that ensures CUDs have access to the materials necessary to begin construction on telecommunications infrastructure for broadband deployment as early as next spring.
Lead times for the purchase of eligible, domestically produced, fiber optic cable are currently as high as 52 weeks. Prices for purchase in 2022 are also expected to be 30-40% higher on average. This deal allows the CUDs to purchase this fiber at 2021 prices that will arrive in time for construction next year. If the groups purchased this fiber after the new year, the price would increase by more than $2 million, and most likely the fiber would not arrive in time for construction in 2022.
Participants at the event will also share information on opportunities for Vermont towns, businesses, and additional partners to assist in overcoming the two other major challenges facing groups planning to construct broadband infrastructure next year: access to capital and securing the necessary workforce.
- 10:00 am Introductions and Welcome: Overcoming the Obstacles to a Successful Construction Season – Christine Hallquist, Executive Director, VCBB
- 10:05 am Overview of the Deal – Robert Fish, Deputy Director, VCBB
- 10:10 am Communications Union Districts
- F.X. Flinn, Chair, Vermont Communications Union Districts Association (VCUDA)
- Christa Shute, Executive Director, NEK Broadband
- 10:15 am Financial and Philanthropic Partners
- Greg Huysman, Director of Business Lending and Services, VSECU
- Dan Smith, President and CEO, Vermont Community Foundation (VCF)
- 10:20 am Closing – Address Workforce Concerns and a Call to Action – Christine Hallquist, Executive Director, VCBB
- 10:25 am Q&A