ECFiber Community Broadband Network Goes Live in Vermont

  • FTTH
SOUTH ROYALTON, VT – Having completed beta testing, and with Phase I construction nearly complete, the community fiber network ECFiber has begun connecting its first customers. Eight customers have been beta-testing the system for the past two weeks, getting sustained 5 Mbps symmetrical service.

The Barnard General Store, one of the beta sites, has been offering the ECFiber experience to customers via Wi-Fi. The store owners have been finding folks on the doorstep at all hours, trying out the system.

"It's been amazing,” says Kim Furlong, one of the store’s proprietors. “Because so much more of what we do is online, it is truly a joy to reap the reward of high-speed Internet. Dial-up, and even satellite, is such a time-robber. Fiber is very different – you can be more efficient, and that is exciting. At the same time, I have some trepidation. People are going to relocate here more permanently because of what is available, and that is probably going to change the fabric of the community.”

According to project coordinator Leslie Nulty, 15 new accounts were opened within the first 24 hours after doorstep delivery of information packets.

Barnard Academy, another beta site, is also very excited about the service. It is planning an open house and community celebration of ECFiber’s arrival in mid-October. Part of the town of Barnard was chosen for the Phase I project because of its proximity to the central office and its large number of unserved users. Preregistrations there topped 90 percent before the project started.

Phase II, which will build out the rest of the town of Barnard, is in the planning stages. Eventually, the network will offer FTTH access to homes and businesses in 23 Vermont towns.

The ECFiber project was launched in 2008 but was derailed by the financial crisis. This year, the group started a pilot project using funds raised locally. If the pilot project demonstrates a proof of concept, ECFiber hopes to return to the capital markets to fund subsequent phases.

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