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2 groups announce plans to expand broadband internet in Vermont

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 2:55 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 3:39 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A publicly owned, open-access fiber network could be on the way for 31 Vermont communities.

Northwest FiberworX and Lamoille FiberNet are two communications union districts that have agreed to build and own an open-access fiber network. They announced their plans on Wednesday.

The network would host multiple service providers with the intention of serving every one in its communities on the grid, both homes and businesses.

Sean Kio, the executive director of Northwest FiberworX, says 50% to 60% of the estimated $109 million cost will come from state and federal grants.

The communications union districts are also in advanced discussions with Google Fiber to be the anchor tenant on the network. If they reach an agreement, this could provide affordable service with no installation fees for addresses up to 500 feet from the road.

“The beauty of the communication union district model and the beauty of Vermont is that we are a laboratory that these communication industries were created aggregating the demand among many different towns. That’s what made Google interested in coming here and exploring the possibilities and potentially being their model,” said Rob Fish of the Vermont Community Broadband Board.

More than $300 million has been committed to increasing broadband services for Vermonters throughout the state.

There are nine communications union districts in the state and the broadband board says this is an example of one model being attempted to increase broadband access to Vermonters.

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