Vermont FiberConnect Overview
What is it? A new 770 mile fiber optic communications network. It will be a “middle-mile” network, which means it is designed to provide wholesale data transport services to other service providers such Internet Service Providers, telecom companies and cellular companies. Consistent with the objectives of the federal grant program, it is also designed to provide high-capacity connections to specific “community anchor institutions” such as K-12 schools, libraries, colleges, state government offices, public safety communications networks. The project will provide data transport service at speeds up to one gigabit per second to institutions, businesses, local broadband service providers, and cellular operators.
What is it not? This project will not deliver internet service to the doors of Vermont households. That would be a “last-mile” project, which was not encouraged by the BTOP funding opportunity announcement. (There are different state and federal grant or loan programs intended to support rural “last-mile” projects.)
Who is involved in the project? The Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA), Sovernet Communications, Vermont Department of Libraries, Vermont Department of Education, Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Law School, Vermont Department of Public Safety, Vermont Department of Information and Innovation, and the New England Telehealth Consortium.
BTOP Award Summary
Where is it? The community anchor institutions that will be served by this network are in Rutland, Bennington, Windham, Windsor, Orange, Washington, and Caledonia counties of Vermont.
How much will the network cost to construct? Roughly $48 million.
When will the network be complete and offering service? Department of Commerce grant rules require the network to be “substantially complete” (2/3rd’s) within 24 months of the grant award, and “complete” within 36 months.
Who will run the network? The network will be built, owned, and operated by Sovernet Communications. The VTA will administer the grant, provide oversight of the sub-grant to Sovernet and act as liaison to the Department of Commerce.
Interested in broadband or internet access on this network? If you represent a service provider that is interested in data transport or interconnection please visit Vermont FiberConnect here.