A $4 million state grant aims to bring high-speed broadband to thousands of Vermonters with limited access to online health, education and work opportunities, the state’s Department of Public Service announced Thursday.
Pandemic-related shutdowns have accelerated the state’s decade-long goal of expanding broadband connections — currently defined as 25 Mbps per second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads.
“As Vermonters adapt to working, learning, and receiving healthcare remotely, broadband internet service has become even more of an essential part of everyday life,” DPS Commissioner June Tierney wrote in a news release.
Grants were awarded through competitive bidding by telecommunications utilities, she said.
Federal coronavirus-relief funding is playing an important role in the initiative, according to the release: The department is developing plans to roll out two more broadband-access grants, each worth $4 million.
An average of $673 per customer will be spent to deliver cable, fiber optic or wireless broadband to 5,832 previously under-served Vermonters by the end of the calendar year in the current round of funding.
The broadband breakdown:
- Mansfield Community Fiber: $351,520 to extend fiber broadband