FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard last week decided to wait before making a contribution from its federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to county nonprofit internet provider Maple Broadband. But this week Board Chair Jessica James said she will recommend the board consider a six-figure bequest at its next meeting.
Initially, board members said on Sept. 7 they needed more information from both Maple Broadband and the Vergennes-Panton Water District before giving any ARPA money to either entity.
This past spring Congress appropriated $350 billion in the American Rescue Plan...
BRISTOL — Bristol officials have begun brainstorming ways to spend the $1,148,473 in federal COVID relief funding the town has been designated to receive through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden this past March.
Addison County’s 23 communities will receive a combined $3.78 million in direct municipal ARPA funding and will share, according to their 2019 estimated populations, an additional $7.02 million earmarked for the county, for a total of $10.8 million.
ADDISON COUNTY — Nonprofit internet provider Maple Broadband has signed up 20 Addison County towns to accept its service, and has just reached a deal with Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom to maintain, repair and serve its planned network.
When complete that network will provide high-speed, fiber-optic telecommunication lines to now unserved and underserved local residents and businesses throughout the county.
Now Maple Broadband needs to find all the funding needed to reach its goals.
That’s the central message from the board chair of Addison County’s Communications Union District (CUD for...
MONTPELIER — A $100 million broadband expansion bill was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Vermont Senate. The plan would funnel federal dollars both to the state’s communications union districts and small internet service providers to bring fiber to areas with no high-speed broadband.
Boosting internet access has been a priority for both lawmakers and Gov. Phil Scott during the Covid-19 pandemic, when children needed broadband to learn remotely and parents needed it too, so they could work from home.
An estimated 60,000 addresses in the state still don’t have an internet connection, or...
ADDISON COUNTY — When the Vergennes City Council voted to join Maple Broadband on April 13, it marked a milestone: Every community in Addison County now belongs to a Communications Union District, or CUD, and 20 of them have signed on with Maple Broadband.
Vermont’s nine CUDs are legal entities in which multiple towns band together as a quasi-municipal entities for the purpose of building out faster internet infrastructure.
Notably, CUDS can cooperate to expand broadband internet service into unserved and underserved rural areas that for-profit providers often ignore. Some, like EC Fiber in...
ADDISON COUNTY — The work begun earlier this year to establish a public body to enhance high-speed internet in Addison County is going well, with 16 towns now signed on, $100,000 in federal money to support the effort, and many organizational details worked out, its backers said.
Challenges and decisions remain, including how to structure the Addison County Communications Union District, or ACCUD, they said, but at the same time it is reasonable to expect by sometime in 2022 its first customers could be served by new fiber-optic internet lines.
“It seems to me that it’s destined for success...
A few years back, I remember attending an author event at Bixby Library in Vergennes. It was after hours and the library was closed except to guests.
As I entered, I passed a cluster of young kids dressed against the cold huddling on the granite steps in front of the library. I inquired of my host why they were there. “We leave our WiFi on for them,” he responded. “They don’t have it at school and come here to use ours.”
Today, the pandemic is exposing Vermont’s endemic problems, accelerating some into full-blown crises, the latest of which is the state and federal failure to meet the...
BRANDON — Brandon has become the first town in Rutland County to form a communications district in an effort to improve its internet service.
Thanks to an initiative from the Department of Public Service, the Rutland Regional Planning Commission has been awarded a Broadband Innovation Grant to support the improvement of stronger, more reliable broadband internet service. The grant will be used to fund a feasibility study that will assess the most cost-effective way to bring better fiber optic internet service to the area.
Brandon is among 15 Rutland County towns that have been identified as...
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County residents in rural areas could see a new source of affordable, robust broadband internet service in the not-too-distant future.
Selectboards in Ferrisburgh, Leicester, New Haven, Monkton and Salisbury recently voted to form Vermont’s latest Communications Union District, a nonprofit inter-municipal corporation that can work to bring broadband to rural areas, combining user fees, bonds and grants — but no taxpayer funding — to pay for it.
And once two or more towns in a county have established a Communications Union District — or, fittingly for this dairy-rich...