2 Vermont groups announce plans to expand broadband internet

March 9, 2022 GMT

Two communications districts are gearing up to lay fiber optic cable in parts of northwestern Vermont this summer as part of a wider state effort to expand broadband internet services throughout the state.

Northwest FiberworX and Lamoille FiberNet also announced Wednesday they are in advanced discussions with what would be the network’s first retail internet service provider, Google Fiber, which currently offers fiber broadband in 18 metro areas across the United States.

Sean Kio, the executive director of Northwest FiberworkX, said Wednesday he hopes crews can begin laying 2,152 miles of fiber optic cable this summer and be completed within three years.

The state and federal government are working to improve access to broadband services across Vermont, especially in under- or un-served rural parts of the state.

The state has committed $300 million to the process.

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Potential customers will be in 31 communities in Vermont’s Lake Champlain islands and parts of Chittenden, Franklin and Lamoille counties, Kio said. Once fiber reaches a community, customers there can begin hooking up to the network right away.

Kio said 50% to 60% of the estimated $109 million cost will come from state and federal grants. The rest will come from private funding.

Vermont has nine communications union districts of two or more communities joined together as a municipal entity to help expand broadband services to underserved parts of the state.

The network created by Northwest FiberworX and Lamoille FiberNet will be available for use by retail internet service providers, mobile providers schools, municipalities and other organizations.

Google Fiber’s Director of Corporate Development David Finn said in a statement the company is committed to bringing fiber internet service to every home and business in the two districts in one of the most rural states and the country.

“We’re thrilled to be in discussions with them about how Google Fiber can help make that happen,” Finn said. “We hope this project will turn out to be an example for many other communities who need fast, reliable internet.”