Vermont Business Magazine When local residents began planning to build their own high-speed fiber-optic network back in 2007, few expected them to be able to surmount the many challenges facing a high-tech start-up. As of October 2017, the East Central Vermont Telecommunications District (ECFiber) has built over 420 miles of cable and connected over 2000 active customers in parts of 20 member towns. It plans to complete another 170 miles of network this year and another 250 miles in 2018.
Tunbridge resident Pamela Whitney became customer number 2,000 when the ECFiber installers arrived at her home recently.
“I ordered 40Mbps service because, more and more, our family is depending on the Internet – from streaming television and online gaming, to the work I do from home for a company in Texas” Whitney said. “My old DSL service was so painfully slow I couldn’t get my work done when anyone else was using the Internet. I know even faster 200Mbps service is available from ECFiber, but right now ECFiber is everything I need at a price I can afford, and I’ve got VOIP phone too.”
Tunbridge resident Pamela Whitney has become ECFiber's 2000th customer. She is pictured with ECFiber staffers John Roy, Stan Williams, and fiber to the home installer Wesley Smith. ECFiber photo
On the occasion of connecting the 2000th customer, District Chair Irv Thomae said, “For years, rural Vermonters have told anyone who would listen that reliable, full-speed internet connectivity has become essential for their educational and economic survival. It is really satisfying to see the progress our towns have made by working together on this vital problem that corporate interests had largely ignored.”
ValleyNet CEO Carole Monroe said, “This is really an incredible accomplishment considering that we’ve done this primarily with private investment and limited state funding.” ValleyNet is the operating company for ECFiber.
ValleyNet CFO Stan Williams added, “We’ve proven the ECFiber self-funding business model with positive cash flow since 2016. Now with over 2000 paying customers, we have the flexibility we need to further expand the network and reach every resident who wants our service.”
ECFiber customers receive symmetrical Internet service (same speed for uploads and downloads) regardless of their location or their chosen service level (17, 40, 200, or 700 megabits/sec). There are no contracts or data caps and customers are welcome to upgrade or downgrade their service as they wish. Earlier this year, existing ECFiber customers received a 15 percent speed increase at no additional cost.
ECFiber is a consortium of 24 Vermont towns organized as a Communications Union District (30 V.S.A. § 3052) with the mission to build a community-owned, locally-operated fiber-optic network bringing fast and reliable broadband Internet service to every resident and business in its member towns.
Source: www.ecfiber.net Royalton, Vermont - October 11, 2017