MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) – This spring, communications union districts and other eligible providers will be able to accelerate construction efforts to reach all Vermonters with adequate broadband service. It comes as the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) announced Wednesday the launch of a $116 million Broadband Construction Grant Program.
“Access to high quality, affordable broadband is an economic necessity,” said Governor Scott. “That’s why we’ll continue to focus on these critical investments, that will strengthen our communities in all 14 counties.”
This year, the program will provide $100 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover construction costs related to broadband installation projects. Although municipalities are not considered eligible applicants, they are encouraged to work with a provider to apply for funding.
Additionally, applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a Community Match Program to match town contributions of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, up to a total of $16 Million.
According to Christine Hallquist, Executive Director of the VCBB, “These grants will kickstart broadband expansion in the state. This first infusion of funds will allow Communications Union Districts and other eligible providers to accelerate their buildouts in communities across the state.” She continued, “We are pleased to hear Governor Scott’s budget proposed to provide additional support for broadband expansion, since more grant funding equals lower rates for Vermonters.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s Proposed Budget for FY2023 includes an additional $95 Million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and $100 Million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for broadband expansion.
“The results of this funding will be transformational. Universal broadband access ensures access to telehealth, remote learning, economic development, and energy equity. The goal of the VCBB and this funding is to ensure no Vermonter is left behind,” said Rob Fish, Deputy Director of the VCBB.
For more information about this funding opportunity, please see the VCBB’s Act 71 Broadband Construction Grant Program webpage. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.