A $4 million state grant aims to bring high-speed broadband to thousands of Vermonters with limited access to online health, education and work opportunities, the state’s Department of Public Service announced Thursday.
Pandemic-related shutdowns have accelerated the state’s decade-long goal of expanding broadband connections — currently defined as 25 Mbps per second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads.
“As Vermonters adapt to working, learning, and receiving healthcare remotely, broadband internet service has become even more of an essential part of everyday life,” DPS Commissioner June Tierney wrote in a news release.
Grants were awarded through competitive bidding by telecommunications utilities, she said.
Federal coronavirus-relief funding is playing an important role in the initiative, according to the release: The department is developing plans to roll out two more broadband-access grants, each worth $4 million.
An average of $673 per customer will be spent to deliver cable, fiber optic or wireless broadband to 5,832 previously under-served Vermonters by the end of the calendar year in the current round of funding.
The broadband breakdown:
- Mansfield Community Fiber: $351,520 to extend fiber broadband to 676 locations and offset the customer costs for 10 locations.
- NEW Alliance (a joint venture between Cloud Alliance and New England Wireless): $171,770 to serve wireless broadband to 632 locations.
- VTel: $1,964,230 for wireless broadband to 3,992 locations.
- Duncan Cable: $56,607 to to extend fiber broadband to 35 locations.
- Comcast: $152,500 to extend cable broadband to 77 locations.
- ECFiber: $1,117,570 to extend fiber broadband to 394 locations.
- Waitsfield & Champlain Valley Telecom: $112,453 to to extend fiber broadband to 26 locations.
Residents may register their internet needs with the department on an interactive map or by calling (800) 622-4496.
The state also offers temporary subsidies for broadband service.
Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.
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