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For Internet-Access Activists in the Northeast Kingdom, the Easy Part is Over

Wednesday, March 18, 2020   (0 Comments)

Twenty-seven towns in the region voted on Town Meeting Day to form a communications union district, a type of governance body that helps member towns build broadband infrastructure without financial risk to taxpayers.

But “that’s when the hard work begins,” said Clay Purvis, who heads the Department of Public Service telecommunications division.

Created by a 2015 statute, communications union districts are a relatively new method for Vermonters looking to improve access to high-speed internet. Only two CUDs existed in the state before Town Meeting Day 2020, and only one of those districts — ECFiber, in east-central Vermont — offers service right now.

The district in the Kingdom — which includes some of the worst-served counties in the state — is likely to face an uphill climb toward its goal. And as its advocates have said over the past few months, the project will be a multi-year effort.

“The funding is going to remain the biggest challenge for the CUDs moving forward,” Purvis said.

The first step for a new district is to put together a feasibility study and a business plan, he said.

Read more at VTDigger.