Skip to main content

Broadband Financing Program Awards

Broadband Financing Awards

In 2020, the General Assembly appropriated $1,500,000 in General Funds for the purpose of supporting the efforts of the Communications Union Districts (CUDs) to secure the financing necessary to advance broadband projects (Sec. B.11100 FY 2021 One-Time General Fund). These funds were used to create the Broadband Financing Program.

NEK Broadband

NEK Broadband - $400,000

NEK Broadband is comprised of over fifty (50) towns primarily in the Northeast Kingdom. On October 31, 2022, the Board voted to award $400,000 to NEK Broadband from the Broadband Finance Program for the purpose of securing a loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to serve as the non-federal match for a roughly $24 million grant from the USDA ReConnect Program.  The Board recognizes that this grant will enable NEK Broadband to lower financing costs, leverage additional funding, accelerate the build-out of its universal service plan, and access the preferred financing source available at this time.

The $400,000 grant will initially be used as a debt service reserve with VEDA and also allow NEK Broadband to borrow less from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). This, in turn, enables NEK to take advantage of an SBIC program lowering the interest rate by 1%.  The Board also agrees that the financing offered by the VEDA program is the preferred source of funding for the match since the VEDA program does not require principal or interest payments for three years. Furthermore, if received, the $24 million USDA ReConnect grant will cover most portions of northern Essex County, eastern Caledonia County, and eastern Orleans County. The density in these areas is less than 5 people per square mile and therefore requires supplemental grant funding support.