Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Public Service Department today announced the winners of the first round of grant funding through the state’s new Broadband Innovation Grant Program. The grants will support three feasibility studies and subsequent business plans for the deployment of broadband in rural, unserved and underserved areas of Vermont.
“Vermonters’ ingenuity and innovation have a critical role to play in addressing connectivity issues in many of our rural communities,” said Governor Scott. “The solutions we’ll explore through these grant-funded projects will help us take important steps to improve broadband access, which in turn helps boost local economies, increase educational opportunities and enhance public safety.”
Following the establishment of the program in Act 79 of 2019, the Department received significant public interest for the first round of grant funding. Applications were reviewed, and the Department has selected three grant recipients:
- 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.
The winning projects represent the diversity of solutions that the Broadband Innovation Grant Program was created to support. This includes leveraging public-private partnership to expand an existing providers network; expanding and strengthening an existing Communication Union District; and creating a new Communication Union District. If the feasibility studies conclude that broadband expansion is economically feasible, then the award recipients will become eligible to receive additional funding to complete their actionable business plans.
The Department will fund two more rounds of the Broadband Innovation Grant program. More information on the upcoming funding opportunities is available on the Department’s website at publicservice.vermont.gov/
Source: Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott 11.22.2019