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DVFiber receives start-up grants for broadband expansion

DVFiber recently announced it receiver two recent grant awards in support of work to secure reliable, high-speed broadband for southeastern Vermont. DVFiber is the not for profit business created by the Deerfield Communications Union District (DVCUD).

DVFiber secured a grant of $100,000 from the Vermont Public Service Department via federal CARES Act funds. In accordance with the broadband business plan recently released by Windham Regional Commission (WRC), these funds will be used to complete pole studies in three towns: Stamford, Halifax, and Whitingham.

“DVFiber stands committed to securing high-speed broadband for every premise in our expanding CUD. No commercial vendor will make this commitment,” DVFiber Chair Ann Manwaring said in a news release.

The first phase toward a successful “Fiber To The Premises” (FTTP) build-out requires that every telephone pole in the 15-town CUD be evaluated for readiness and capacity to support the type of fiber to be used throughout the coming network. A fiber wire is a bundle of small glass strands through which data moves at the speed of light, in both directions.

Currently, only Readsboro has sufficient pole data to move to next steps in the infrastructure build-out. The three towns supported by this grant funding are contiguous to Readsboro.

Hundreds of poles throughout the district carry electricity and communications lines — electricity on top, phone, cable TV, and Internet cables below. DVFiber has plans to add new fiber lines to all poles.

“This work, required across the district, requires time and money to complete. Patience will be asked of all of us,” Manwaring said.

The WRC business plan states: “Many who read this business plan, especially the people who live in our member towns, may become disheartened when they read the likely time it will take to bring broadband to their homes and businesses. But, for the first time, we have a path to the possible when there was none before.”

A second grant award in the amount of $8,000, from Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), will support DVFiber operations build-out, specifically for legal and consulting support and for planned communications development.

“Both of these grants provide important energy to the development of a community-based broadband network,” said Manwaring. “We are laser-focused on securing affordable, equitable high-speed Internet in our communities. The COVID pandemic has clarified this vital need, for education, for healthcare, for business. We are grateful for the support we have earned to date.”

For further information about the district and DVFiber, visit dvfiber.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #584 (Wednesday, October 21, 2020).

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