Google Fiber Deal Could Bring High-Speed ​​Internet to 43,000 Vermont Homes

A map shows which cities have Google Fiber. Two groups of communities in Vermont hope to be next on the map. Screenshot from

Two groups of communities in northwestern Vermont are about to reach an agreement with Google Fiber to provide blazing-fast service to some of the state’s most underserved areas.

“I live in one of those communities, so I fully understand the frustrations of many years of having only poor or no connectivity,” said Sean Kio of Enosburgh, executive director of Northwest FiberworX (formerly the Northwest Communications Union District), who said: about 29,000 addresses.

Communications union districts are cities that have united to build communication infrastructure.

Two of Vermont’s newest CUDsNorthwest FiberworX (with 21 member communities) and Lamoille FiberNet (with 10 member communities), joined forces last year to build, own and maintain an open-access fiber network that can host multiple Internet service providers – a first for the state.

“We’re doing something that’s very different from any other communications union district,” said Johnson’s Val Davis, executive director of Lamoille FiberNet, which covers approximately 14,100 addresses. “We’re building an open access network and we’ll own the network when it’s ready.”

According to the state, 71,000 addresses cannot access the federal definition of broadband, which is a download speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload of 3 mbps – which is just basic broadband. They may have DSL or maybe even a dial-up connection.

Vermont is the first state in the nation to allow municipalities to partner as CUDs to build fiber optic services.

“Vermont is leading the way here,” said Rob Fish, deputy director of the Vermont Community Broadband Board, founded byAct 71 in 2021. “By merging cities in these communications districts, it made sense for these major providers — who were previously uninterested in Vermont — to talk to us.”

Together, the Northwest and Lamoille CUDs represent just under 43,000 addresses.

Google learned about the partnership and approached the state in September, Davis said. They have been in talks ever since.

If all goes well, Google could become the network’s first ISP, Fish said. “So you’d be talking about good rates, incredibly fast speed, and it would be a public network where Google could be just one of many providers on the network.”

Google Fiber is a super-fast broadband Internet service that uses fiber optic cables to deliver speeds of up to two gigabits to homes and businesses. Fiber optic cables transmit information using light, enabling much faster speeds than traditional cable, DSL, or dial-up connections. Google Fiber currently serves 20 metro areas in the US

“We hope this project will set an example for many other communities that need fast, reliable internet,” said David Finn, director of business development at Google Fiber, in a March 9 press release.

Kio, who previously worked at Burlington Telecom, said the Northwest and Lamoille CUDs have come a long way in recent months and “hopefully come to an end in terms of our negotiations here in the coming weeks.”

The process involves a lot of back and forth, but Davis said he hopes to have signed an agreement with Google by the end of June.

If all goes according to plan, construction could begin at the end of this year and approximately 42,900 households could start using new services on a rolling basis over the next 36 months.

Regulated by state law, the CUDs have already purchased their first batches of fiber — 240 miles for Lamoille FiberNet and 130 miles for Northwest FiberworX — and have made separate requests for design, construction and project management proposals.

At least five or six companies have expressed interest, Davis said, and the CUDs expect to pick a supplier by June 9.

“We dance as fast as we can,” he said. “But this is no small business. The only thing we’ve had in the past that we can compare this to is the electrification of the United States in the 1920s and 1930s when they were building the electrical grid. It’s a huge undertaking and it’s going to happen, but it’s going to take a while.”

“We’ve seen from the start that this is an opportunity for us to do something remarkable,” Kio said. “If we are successful – and we hope and believe we will be – this very well has the potential to be a game-changer for nationwide broadband everywhere and likely serve as a model for other parts of the country as well. .”

This story has been updated with the correct definition of broadband and the correct spelling of Enosburgh.

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