NEK Broadband is celebrating several milestones and eyeing millions of dollars in grants to support the buildout of its planned region-wide high-speed internet network. Last month NEK Broadband completed construction of a pilot project in Lunenburg, Concord and Waterford, connecting the communications union district’s first customers to a fiber-optic network that delivers 100 Mbps symmetrical service or higher. New customer Don Whitehead said, “It has been a struggle working from home on DSL. I have had to drive to the office just to move a large file. I was pretty skeptical when construction started in November. But I was connected before December 31st. Download speed is more than 50 times faster than DSL and upload speed is more than 250 times faster.” Besides the completion of the pilot project, earlier this month the CUD signed up the last towns in the area and now represent every Northeast Kingdom town as well as Wolcott, said Christa Shute, Executive Director of NEK Broadband. The CUD is now preparing to submit its first request for grant funds from the Broadband Construction Grant Program launched by the Vermont Community Broadband Program. VCBB announced $116 million in funding, with $100 million in ARPA money for CUDs and their partners as well as a $16 million program to match funds contributed by town contributions from their ARPA allocations. Shute commended the VCCB program and said the principal grant program makes allocations based on populated road mileage.