Plans Move Ahead for NEK Broadband Internet Service
Friday, July 26, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
Broadband internet service in the Northeast Kingdom could be split between two communications union districts in the coming years — one for Caledonia County and one for Essex and Orleans counties.
That’s according to an action plan released Wednesday by the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative that provides more details on how leaders aim to tackle limited access to high-speed internet in the region. It builds on discussions at a June summit on broadband issues hosted by the Collaborative.
A draft map for the districts covers 55 cities and towns, with 24 in Caledonia County and the rest in the two counties to its north. Right now, those boundaries are more like a back-of-the-napkin sketch, Northeast Kingdom Collaborative Director Katherine Sims said.
“We’re trying to kind of work from both ends,” Sims said. “The long-term goal is to cover all 55 towns … At the same time, not every town in the Kingdom is ready to join a CUD tomorrow, so we’re starting where there is energy and momentum.”
A communications union district would allow towns to share services and puts any financial liability on the district, rather than on any one municipality.