FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is Vermont FiberConnect?

A new 770 mile fiber optic communications network.   It will be a “middle-mile” network, which means it is designed to provide wholesale data transport services to other service providers such Internet Service Providers, telecom companies and cellular companies.   Consistent with the objectives of the federal grant program, it is also designed to provide high-capacity connections to specific “community anchor institutions” such as K-12 schools, libraries, colleges, state government offices, public safety communications networks. The project will provide data transport service at speeds up to one gigabit per second to institutions, businesses, local broadband service providers, and cellular operators.

 

Will the new network deliver internet services to Vermont’s underserved residential customers?

This project will not deliver internet service to Vermont households. That would be a “last-mile” project, which was not encouraged by the BTOP funding opportunity announcement.  However, “last-mile” providers are potential users of this network; the high capacity of this network will offer services to transport communications traffic between last-mile facilities in local communities and the regional, national, and international networks to which they seek to connect.

 

What are the benefits of the new network?

· Enabling upgrades in broadband and cellular services currently offered, and making extension of broadband and cellular service to new areas of the state economically feasible.

· Increased opportunity for students and educational institutions through media-rich on-line learning.

· Improved patient care through support for use of Electronic Health Records, including transfers of large medical imaging files.

· Enabling more web-based interaction by Vermonters with state agencies and reducing state costs of travel and data center space through video conferencing and data center consolidation.

· Improved access by the public to super high-speed broadband service at public libraries.

 

What counties in Vermont will the network encompass?

Caledonia, Bennington, Rutland, Orange, Windham, Washington and Windsor.

 

How much will the network cost to construct?

Roughly $48 million.

 

When will the network be complete and offering service?

Department of Commerce grant rules require the network to be “substantially complete” (2/3rd’s) within 24 months of the grant being accepted, and “complete” within 36 months.  Service to community anchor institutions that are “on-net” will be turned up as the portion of the network that serves them is completed.

 

Who is funding the project?

The largest share (approx 70%) of the funding for the project will come from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a stimulus program under the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Sovernet Communications will provide the largest share of non-federal funds, over $12 miilion.  The VTA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through the Vermont Department of Libraries, are providing some additional funding.

 

Who will run the network?

The network will be built, owned, and operated by Sovernet Communications.  The VTA will administer the grant, provide oversight of the sub-grant to Sovernet  and act as liaison to the Department of Commerce.

 

Is my school, healthcare clinic, or library on the list of locations that Sovernet will serve using this new network?

If the anchor institution is in one of the seven counties in which the network is being constructed, there is a very good chance that it is.  Please send email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further information.

 

Will Sovernet’s new network be passing by my business?

If your business is in one of the seven counties in which the network is being constructed, it may be.  Please send email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further information.  The network is designed primarily to serve institutions and larger businesses.   The federal grant funds cannot be used to extend the network to private businesses.  However, as construction of the initial network progresses, Sovernet will evaluate opportunities to extend the network to enterprises (businesses and institutions) near the network.  Sovernet also offers services that do not rely on the new network, and would be happy to develop a proposal for you.

 

Will Sovernet be hiring additional staff?

Yes, as the project progresses.  Please check our website for a current listing.

 

I am a vendor, interested in offering Sovernet the opportunity to purchase my goods and services.  How do I get in touch?

Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

What are Community Anchor Institutions?

Anchor institutions include State owned buildings, public safety towers and all public and private K-12 schools, public libraries and colleges that elect to participate in the project.

 

What is a middle mile network?

The "middle mile" is the segment of a telecommunications network linking a network operator's core network to the local network.

 

What is a last mile provider?

The "last mile" is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer.  Providers offer broadband services to residential and business end users