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57 Vermont towns have committed federal COVID-19 relief money to broadband

Large spools of white fiber optic cable wrapped up on wood spools labeled "fiber," which are outside in the sunlight
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
Reels of fiber optic cable are stored at Washington Electric Coop garage in East Montpelier in this photo from May.

The state announced a dollar-for-dollar matching program last year for towns that use some of their federal COVID-19 relief money to build out broadband infrastructure.

Fast forward to today, and 57 towns have committed a portion of their federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to broadband.

Almost every town in Vermont got ARPA funds as part of the federal COVID-19 relief effort.

And towns had until the end of May to contribute their ARPA money into the matching grant program.

A map of Vermont indicating towns that have contributed funds for broadband.
Vermont Community Broadband Board
This map from the Vermont Community Broadband Board shows the 57 towns in the state that have committed federal COVID-19 relief money to broadband infrastructure, from a meeting Monday.

Rob Fish is with the Vermont Community Broadband Board. He says the state will match each dollar, and the towns can use the money for challenging addresses that aren’t covered by larger construction grants.

“So the connection from the pole to the house, if it’s beyond a standard drop, in many cases that wouldn’t be covered, but this could bridge that gap," Fish says.

Towns put up a little more than $2.8 million statewide.

“Towns all over the state stepped up and gave what they can. It was just them having skin in the game and just doing what’s necessary to make this happen, to get Vermonters connected," Fish says.

Calais and Bolton are leading the pack with contributions of $200,000 each — the maximum total the state will match.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state. 
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