Vt. broadband crews navigate bad weather, tough terrain to get the job done

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 4:56 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2023 at 9:29 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The push to expand broadband has more hurdles this year thanks to the weather. The flooding is the latest tribulation the CVFiber and Eustis Cable crews have endured while trying to connect Vermonters.

Regardless of flooding, the beautiful scenery that makes the Green Mountain State so special lies at the crux of Vermont’s broadband issue.

“They can’t get a bucket truck up there. They have to climb that bolt and use four-wheelers and side-by-sides to get all the cabling and equipment up there,” said Lucas Stubbs from CVFiber.

He also says the communication union district, robust with volunteers, has been working on the physical rollout since last December.

“Out there all winter, and they were out on any vehicle they could access the lines on,” he added.

But the actual planning behind the wires is just barely being strung up.

“It’s been a five-year plan to try and get the entire Central Vermont area done. We’re a little behind on that right now, mainly because of the weather and the terrain we’re dealing with,” said Stubbs.

Equipment breakage is a common problem for these crews. The four-wheelers used to string up the fiber in elevated areas often run into issues. Crew members say around two go down a week because of the tricky conditions they work in. Mountainous roads and wetlands causing damage to the machines potentially cause thousands of dollars each time.

Even then, slowly but surely, the crew is trekking along. They have over 35 miles of 400 done in areas of Calais, Middlesex and Worcester. As for getting customers hooked up, there’s light at the end of the tunnel -- or perhaps a wire on the telephone pole.

“We are working on that with what we call friendlies, which are just a select group they’re going to test for us before we roll it out to the public,” said Stubbs.

While the floods did stop the crews for a bit, Stubbs also says they’ll be back out in no time.