ECFiber Announces Plans To Expand Service in 2018

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Communities / Aug. 10, 2017 11:33am EDT

Pittsfield residents celebrated last week as ECFiber flipped the “On” switch to its new Pittsfield network. From left are Dawna Neron, of ECFiber; Selectboard Chair Charlie Piso; Irv Thomae, ECFiber board chair; Pittsfield’s ECFiber representative Elizabeth Warner; Senators Mark MacDonald and Sandy Haas; Rep. Brian Collamore; and John Van Vught of ECFiber. (Provided) Pittsfield residents celebrated last week as ECFiber flipped the “On” switch to its new Pittsfield network. From left are Dawna Neron, of ECFiber; Selectboard Chair Charlie Piso; Irv Thomae, ECFiber board chair; Pittsfield’s ECFiber representative Elizabeth Warner; Senators Mark MacDonald and Sandy Haas; Rep. Brian Collamore; and John Van Vught of ECFiber. (Provided) ECFiber this week released its construction plans for 2018.

Braintree, Brookfield, Granville, Hancock, Rochester, and Stockbridge are the six towns slated to receive access to its fiber-opticbased internet connection in 2018.

ECFiber will also build some mileage in Woodstock to initiate service there and to improve connectivity between West Windsor, Reading, and the rest of its network.

“Our mission is to build and operate a universal, open access, fiber network, ensuring state-of-the art connectivity throughout our member towns,” commented District Chairman Irv Thomae. “We plan to continue this process of filling out towns until the entire district is covered.”

To date, ECFiber has built more than 417 road-miles of connectivity in its 20 member towns.

More Progress

Thomae’s announcement about 2018 plans follows other recent progress reports. In May, ECFiber received a $14 million revenue bond to build connections in Pittsfield, West Windsor, Pomfret, Barnard, Strafford, and Thetford.

In June, it announced that it has increased transmission speeds by 40-100% without increasing prices. It also promised another speed increase in 2018.

Last month, ECFiber announced that as of this fall, most schools is the White River Valley Supervisory Union will receive their high-speed transmission. The connection should be able to allow 50-60 students to independently watch highdefinition video at the same time, he said.

Also last month, ECFiber celebrated the completion of its Pittsfield build-out in ceremonies on the village green, becoming the first of the six towns to be completed “essentially border-to-border this year,” according to Carole Monroe, ValleyNet’s CEO.

Selection Process

ECFiber determined the towns for the 2018 build by looking at the relative numbers of residents and businesses who had subscribed by signing up on its website. Also considered were the engineering requirements of the network as a whole.

The focus was on “places within its territory where truly high-speed internet service is currently unavailable,” the announcement said. Some road segments on or near the borders of the six towns may not be served until the neighboring town is serviced, it was noted.

ECFiber is a consortium of 24 towns organized as the East Central Vermont Telecommunications District. Under state law, it may not ask for or use any taxpayer funds from its member towns.

All of its financing is through the municipal bond market and revenue from the existing customer base. The network is operated for the District by ValleyNet.

“We are pleased that, thanks to our recent financing, we can at last provide near-universal coverage to six more towns,” commented Thomae.

“We plan to continue this process of filling out towns until the entire District is covered.”

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