Vermont Is Wiring Itself With Fiber Because Nobody Else Will – East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network moving forward

It will be interesting to see how this works out; if Vermont can do this more economically than Verizon, then more power to Vermont.


Vermont already wasn’t exactly a great state for broadband, given the largely rural state is a ROI nightmare for large ISP bean counters. Their broadband fortunes were recently made substantially worse by Fairpoint Communications, who acquired Verizon’s unwanted New England DSL network, then subsequently imploded under the not so watchful eye of Vermont regulators. Vermont’s been tired of waiting for uninterested ISPs to wire them so they’re working hard at wiring themselves.

The result is the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network, which tells the Burlington Free Press that the 22-town telecommunications network is “well under way,” complete with mysterious financiers. We’ve covered this network effort before, noting how it’s the brain child of a gentleman named Tim Nulty, who has repeatedly declared that running fiber to rural areas, if done right, is perfectly economical. This network (which will offer just broadband and phone service but not TV, for obvious economic reasons) is his opportunity to prove it:

Project Director Tim Nulty said the pilot would “prove our concept” of creating a high-speed Internet network for rural Vermonters, at no risk to taxpayers. Nulty has projected profitability for the network in its fifth year of operation, if 49 percent of the households in the 22 towns subscribe. . . He declined to identify the source of the funding for the project, but said the $75 million network is no longer in the running for a stimulus loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We have some private investment,” he said. “We will raise some additional funds.”

Regardless of where you fall on the ages-old municipal broadband debate, Vermont has been an interesting broadband state to watch, from Fairpoint’s collapse and efforts to prevent these kinds of community efforts from succeeding, to the fact that a Google executive is running for Vermont Governor with broadband as one of his primary campaign platforms.
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