In December of last year, Consolidated Communications subsidiary Fidium Fiber promised to bring its multi-gigabit fiber broadband network and services to more locations in Maine and Vermont. Now, the company is delivering on that promise with its announced expansion of fiber network infrastructure in southern Vermont, slated for completion this fall.
Notably, the network expansion will give the Southern Vermont Communications Union District (SoVT CUD) the distinction of becoming first in the state to achieve its universal broadband coverage goals via its ongoing partnership with Consolidated.
Per information in a press release, through the fiber broadband expansion, more than 14,000 additional homes and small businesses in southern Vermont in towns served by the CUD will gain access to Fidium’s symmetrical multi-gigabit speeds and services.
Communications Union Districts (CUDs) are non-profit municipal entities established by Vermont towns seeking to provide broadband to underserved or unserved communities in accordance with state statute. Fidum’s new fiber network in southern Vermont was funded in part through a grant awarded to SoVT CUD, who is partnering with Consolidated to bring fiber to its 14-town service area in Bennington County.
The broadband network expansion is the fruit of SoVT CUD's receiving approval last fall for its aforementioned $9 million internet fiber construction grant from the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB). The grant, along with a $3.3 million investment from Consolidated Communications, specified coverage of 6,412 addresses across southern Vermont. The CUD, in partnership with Consolidated Communications, who is building, maintaining and operating the network, expects all unserved and underserved residents in the CUD to have access to Fidium Fiber’s multi-gigabit speed internet in 2023 at competitive prices.
Consolidated on May 2 announced that construction is currently underway for Fidium Fiber's southern Vermont network expansion, which will bring fiber broadband services to the communities of Arlington, Dorset, Landgrove, Londonderry, Manchester, Peru, Pownall, Sandgate, Shaftsbury, South Londonderry, Sunderland, Rupert, Weston, and Winhall.
Fidium service is already available to more than 18,000 homes and businesses in the towns of Bennington, Dover, Marlboro, Searsburg, Shaftsburg, and Woodford, Vermont. With completion of the announced network expansion, more than 116,000 locations in Vermont will have access to Fidium Fiber by the end of 2023, said the company.
Eric Hatch, chair of SoVT CUD, commented:
“We are excited that our communities are taking the final steps for high-speed internet connectivity. In partnering with Consolidated Communications, we have been able to give our communities an advantage to quickly reach universal coverage. This brings tremendous benefit - from creating new economic opportunities to attracting and retaining residents, businesses and commerce.”
Fidium Fiber delivers symmetrical fiber internet service "without contracts or data caps," it notes, offering plans from 50 Mbps to 2 Gigs (2000 Mbps), as well as VoIP phone service and variety of streaming options for TV and entertainment.
Jeffrey Austin, senior director of fiber build strategy at Consolidated Communications, remarked:
“Reliable, high-speed internet is no longer just a nice-to-have, but a necessity. Our partnership with SoVT CUD has helped us bring fiber internet to thousands of unserved and underserved residents of southern Vermont. Fidium will be a game-changer for these communities, bringing economic development benefits, employment opportunities, access to telehealth, educational impacts and of course, all the entertainment made possible by reliable, high-speed internet.”
This recent customer-facing video from Fidium explains the benefits of its subscribers using the company's mesh WiFi 6 network equipment.