2023 — Building momentum; 2024 — Building your network
Lamoille FiberNet Communications Union District had a very productive 2023 and is poised to make great progress in 2024. Our 2023 efforts and our 2024 priorities are summarized below, and on our website, but first, I want to thank our remarkable Governing Board for their leadership.
These individuals leverage their professional skills and community knowledge and give considerable personal time to bringing broadband to our unserved communities. If you know them, thank them. If you have questions, ask them.
Belvidere: Carol Caldwell-Edmonds
Cambridge: Sam Lotto, Matt McCabe
Eden: Carey Earle
Elmore: Randy Tomlin
Hyde Park: Michael Rooney, Carol Fano
Johnson: Paul Warden, Jeffrey Bickford
Morristown: Jane Campbell, John Meyer
Stowe: Stephen Friedman
Waterville: Jeff Tilton (Chair), Scott Johnson
Wolcott: Andrew Ross (Vice Chair), Bradley Horstman
I also want to thank the Lamoille County Planning Commission, the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation, and the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) and their talented staff. Their guidance and expertise helped us navigate the complexities of state and federal funding and build capacity. Finally, I want to thank our Lamoille County legislative delegation and our federal delegation, particularly Senator Peter Welch’s office, for their unwavering support. Their collective leadership has helped bring universal broadband within reach.
So, let’s take a quick look at our 2023 milestones:
• Developed a two-phase Universal Service Plan to bring high speed fiber broadband internet to all unserved and underserved addresses in Lamoille County, and successfully applied for $15.6 million in Vermont Community Broadband Board funding to build Phase 1 of the two-phase plan. Phase 1 reaches 86% or 4,170 of Lamoille County’s unserved and underserved addresses. Because our partner Consolidated Communications (CCI) is investing almost $10 million, Phase 1 is fully funded and can begin this spring!
• Thanks to widespread community support, Lamoille FiberNet also raised $225,800 in local ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) pledges to support construction costs in Belvidere, Cambridge, Eden, Hyde Park, Johnson, Wolcott, and Waterville! The VCBB approved a 1:1 match, doubling the investments in these seven communities!
• We negotiated a 20-year partnership with Consolidated Communications (CCI) to operate and maintain the new fiber network with service quality, network performance and consumer protection commitments. This includes building a future-ready, 10G network designed for growth and commitments to keep our network current — offering the same products here as the rest of northern New England and keeping prices competitive and affordable. For current information on Fidium products and pricing visit Fast, Reliable Fiber Internet Service Locations | Fidium Fiber and scroll down the Vermont list to your town.
• We also continued to build organizational capacity to oversee the implementation of the universal service plan and to remain accountable to our communities. Towards that end, in 2023, we recruited several new board members, launched a new website, and completed audits for 2021 and 2022.
Turning to 2024, we have four major objectives:
• Complete construction of Phase 1 which includes all unserved and underserved areas in Belvidere, Eden, Johnson, and Waterville, all of Lamoille FiberNet’s footprint in Elmore and Wolcott, most of Hyde Park, except the northeast corner, and all of Morristown, except a few addresses on Rte. 15 east near the Wolcott border. We plan to build roughly two-thirds of Cambridge and Stowe, building to the ends of line in Sterling Valley and Nebraska Valley in Stowe, and North Cambridge to Fletcher in Cambridge. We will be sharing our construction plans with each community and publishing town-by-town details when they become available.
• Develop a program, funded by the local ARPA grants, to subsidize installation or extraordinary construction costs for some premises.
• Design and fund Phase 2, which will complete the universal service plan, ideally by December 2025.
• Draft a long-term sustainability and governance plan, to ensure that our grant commitments are fulfilled and our communities continue to benefit from digital equity initiatives.
Our 2024 plan is a manageable challenge. With the continued support and leadership from our Governing Board, our communities, and legislative leaders, I am confident we will be successful.
Again, THANK YOU!
Lisa Birmingham, Lamoille FiberNet Executive Director
Our Vision: Every home and business in our territory will be connected to fast, reliable internet service.
Our Mission: To prioritize access to unserved and underserved addresses to symmetrical, high speed, and affordable internet service — as soon as possible.