NEK Broadband will kick off the next phase of its construction of a fiber optic broadband system across the NEK today

NEK Broadband will kick off the next phase of its construction of a fiber optic broadband system across the NEK today. NEK Broadband Executive Director Christa Shute said it will begin building “backbone” lines on today. This construction is funded by a $16 million grant NEK Broadband received this spring from the Vermont Community Broadband Board and will include lines that run south through Lower Waterford and onto Barnet and north through Concord, Kirby, St. Johnsbury and Lyndon eventually reaching existing fiber in Brighton, said Shute. NEK Broadband is currently wrapping up some smaller pilot projects that were funded with CARES Act money and other grants previously and is making service available to 183 addresses in the Concord and Waterford area. NEK Broadband expects to have reached 90% of its towns in some capacity within the next two years and part of the timeline and roll-out has been accelerated by additional funding the communications union district has received directly from its member towns. Select boards in Groton, Hardwick, Peacham, Ryegate, and Walden have voted to allocate a total of $328,050 in American Rescue Plan Act funding towards constructing additional high-speed broadband infrastructure within their communities sooner than originally planned. The ARPA funding also enables NEK Broadband to build new infrastructure sooner in Danville, Lyndon, and Saint Johnsbury.