Lamoille FiberNet has taken the first step toward building a fiber-based broadband network in its north central Vermont region.

“Building the fiber network will be a multi-year project,” said Michael Rooney, chair of the Lamoille FiberNet board. “The pole assessment is the fiber network’s first phase. The pole study evaluates each utility pole for its readiness and capacity to support the addition of fiber. Fiber broadband is the best solution for families with several people using the internet at the same time.”

The first pole assessment will take place in Waterville, Belvidere and Cambridge, in selected areas with no or little internet access. The pole assessment is being funded by a grant from the Federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), and pole survey crews will be in the field over the next month, gathering data for the assessment.

“We are assessing poles first in communities that are the most unserved or underserved in the district,” noted Larry Lackey, Lamoille FiberNet’s treasurer. “When we are closer to the knowing the timeframe and cost of providing our service, the district will conduct a pre-subscription campaign to confirm residents’ interest in using Lamoille FiberNet's services.”

The group will continue to raise funds, including grants, donations, debt financing and possibly equity investments, to conduct the next phases of the network design and build-out. After the pole assessment, the district will refine its network design, secure financing, prepare the poles and its cables for the addition of fiber (make-ready), and build the network.

The Lamoille FiberNet is one of Vermont’s communications union districts, which are organizations of two or more towns that join together as a municipal entity to build communication infrastructure. The districts get no financing from the member towns or taxes.

The Lamoille district includes the towns of Belvidere, Cambridge, Eden, Johnson, Hyde Park, Morristown and Waterville. Its mission is to make locally controlled, affordable, and reliable high-speed internet service available to every 911 address in its member towns.

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