Who’s making Lamoille FiberNet happen? Board profile: Sam Lotto
Lamoille FiberNet has a very active board, and we will occasionally offer profiles of our volunteer board members to help you get to know who’s working to help bring high speed internet to Lamoille County.
The board’s Cambridge representative, Sam Lotto, served as the Chair of the Partnership Task Force Committee at Lamoille FiberNet. A resident of Cambridge for more than 30 years, Sam has served on numerous Cambridge boards, including the Cambridge Elementary School Board and Planning Commission and is an active member of the Cambridge Area Rotary.
As an original member of the Lamoille FiberNet governing board, Sam’s professional background has been an asset from the beginning, with his 30 years of experience in IT project management and consulting. In his past, Sam has done IT work for numerous local organizations including the State of Vermont – Department of Health and Copley Hospital.
When he was Chair of the Partnership Task Force, Sam was instrumental in driving the broadband connectivity initiative forward. Through his leadership and the work of numerous other board members, Lamoille FiberNet identified Consolidated Communications as the right partner to bring fiber internet to the CUD (Communications Union District) territory. Lamoille FiberNet recently received approval from the Vermont Community Broadband Board to move forward with the partnership and network buildout. We sat down with Sam to learn about the driving factors that led to this partnership:
Q: What were the specific goals or “guiding principles” you kept in mind as the Partnership Task Force decided on a partner for the CUD buildout?
Sam: If we do what’s best for the CUD communities and make sure we are spending public funds wisely, the rest will take care of itself. “Community and our residents first” is another way to say it. Additionally, rural residents can no longer wait three to five years, so we needed to find a pathway to roll broadband out with the shortest timeline and best use of dollars.
Q: What were you looking for in a partner? Do you feel we got everything you were looking for in Consolidated?
Sam: Being an ethical entity to work with that has a “customer-first” focus was key. Yes, Consolidated is for-profit, yet I think they do care about customer satisfaction. They demonstrated the ways they are improving customer service with Fidium, and they want to sunset the DSL network as much if not more than we do.
We got 90% of what we wanted. What I am most excited about is the substantial financial investment and engineering expertise they are bringing to the table. They also bring a skilled workforce ready to do the buildout of the network and are participating in recruiting and training more Vermonters. I sleep better knowing Consolidated — with their technical and back-office infrastructure — will operate and maintain the network. I had worried about our CUD having the capacity to morph into an ISP, so partnering with Consolidated is a great solution.
Q: What aspect of your work on the Partnership Task Force are you most proud of?
Sam: I am most proud of the group of people – Randy, Andy, John, and Stephen — with Lisa’s and Fabian’s countless hours of help too! This group really hung together. They were great to work with, and always listened and respected all points of view. The agreement with Consolidated is a testament to how well the group worked together and the countless hours/days/months of effort they put in.
All 10 Lamoille County towns are represented on Lamoille FiberNet’s board. You can find more information about the board or the CUD at www.lamoillefiber.net.
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.