Vermont's model for expanding broadband is receiving national recognition

Vermont Business Magazine A new report, Neighborly Networks: Vermont’s Approach to Community Broadband, from Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Benton Institute for Broadband & Society gives a detailed and glowing review of Vermont’s Communications Union District (CUD) model of meeting the challenges of rural broadband.

The report states “Vermonters have taken the reigns on their broadband journey, and they are already delivering results for Vermont’s unserved and underserved residents. Their progress, even before BEAD funding begins to flow, demonstrates the viability of their approach to fixing a broken broadband marketplace. CUDs will continue to play a central role in making Vermont one of the best-connected states in the next half decade.”

“Thousands of Vermonters have had a part in coming together to plan, organize, and build the CUDs. We’re thrilled to see this work get national attention and hope that it can be an inspiration and a practical guide for other communities looking to get all their residents connected,” said VCBB Executive Director Christine Hallquist.

The 50-page report describes the history of the struggle for reliable internet service and shows how CUDs have become the solution. It starts with the state’s first CUD, ECFiber, and then profiles the nine CUDs that followed. CUD leaders, state officials, and VCBB Board Members were interviewed for the report, which also serves as a guide and suggests that other states or countries could benefit from a similar approach to rural broadband.

"This report is a testimony to the steadfastness and ingenuity of Vermonters and the respect our broadband program has been gaining around the country. We are grateful for our amazing staff, distinguished Board, reliable partners, and the hundreds of volunteers powering the Communications Union Districts. That support and the backing of the Congressional Delegation, Governor, General Assembly, and the Public Service Department has made the impossible possible, " said VCBB Deputy Director Rob Fish.

Vermont has dedicated more than $245 million in ARPA funds to this effort. With a grant approved for Northwest FiberworX last month, the VCBB has now approved construction grant funding to 9 of the 10 CUDs. 8 of them or their partners are actively constructing networks and connecting customers. You can keep up on the progress of the state’s broadband buildout on our Dashboard and find more information about Vermont’s CUDs at our website Vermont Communications Union Districts | Department of Public Service.

Source: Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) 112 State Street. Montpelier, VT 05620-2601.

To support great journalism, access our archives and get unique features like our award-winning profiles, subscribe HERE!