Southern Vermont Communications Union District
The Southern Vermont Communication Union District (SoVT CUD) is working to bring modern high-speed Internet service (fiber) to under-served areas of the Bennington County region.
SoVT CUD aims to take advantage of the recently passed “broadband bill”, Act 79. This bill encourages the formation of CUDs and provides money for feasibility studies to help them succeed.
A CUD is a governance structure (like a water or wastewater district) allowing multiple towns to band together to attack their Internet problems as a region. Recent history has shown that neither the State nor the federal government are going to solve the rural Internet problem for us, and it is too big for one town. Multiple towns working together is the proven solution.
The first CUD in Vermont was ECFiber and it is a huge success. Serving 27 towns in east central Vermont, they are providing super high-speed Internet directly to homes in rural areas. In partnership with ValleyNet, an Internet service provider (ISP), they have blazed the trail that the rest of us hope to follow.
Thirteen towns are currently members of SoVT CUD:Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Landgrove, Londonderry, Manchester, Peru, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Shaftsbury, Sunderland, Woodford
Key things to know about joining a CUD:
1. Joining a CUD will not raise taxes, ever. By state law, tax money cannot be used to pay for communication infrastructure. The build-out will be paid for with grants, donations, and service fees. Most of the funding will come from the subscribers who buy the Internet service.
2. Your town’s only real responsibility to the CUD is to appoint a representative and an alternate to the governing board. The governing board will run the CUD, define its rules and policies, and contract an ISP to provide service.
3. This is how the State wants us to solve this problem, and CUDs are forming all over the state, including Windham County, the Northeast Kingdom, and other areas.
For more information, please contact
530 330 5262
Shaftsbury’s Internet Survey
The citizens of Shaftsbury believe having Internet service is important and want the Town to do something about. That is one of the results of the recently completed Internet coverage survey in Shaftsbury. We collect 260 responses online from March 1 to April 15, accounting for about 17% of households. A summary of all results collected is here.
Some key findings:
• 92% have Internet service at home
• 50% are not satisfied with their service (No Internet + Way Too Slow + Not Fast Enough)
• 78% support efforts by the Town to extend coverage (another 8% said Maybe)
The primary purpose of the survey was to find folks who have no Internet service so we can go about addressing the problem. Since this survey was conducted, SoVT CUD has been formed and addressing the rural broadband problem has become a statewide priority.
Shaftsbury Cell Coverage Mapping
We have also completed a detailed data collection of cell phone coverage in Shaftsbury. Corey Chase at the VT Dept of Public Service (https://vtdigger.org/2018/11/23/vermont-official-chases-cellphone-signals-state/) recently drove major highways in the state collecting cell phone signal strength for six service providers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Sprint and VTel. We were able to borrow his equipment and extend his survey to all roads in Shaftsbury. [Update 2020.11.16] The statewide and Shaftsbury enhanced data is at
The survey data for Shaftsbury can be viewed in PDF files here:
Shaftsbury Cell Coverage
The Selectboard and the Planning Commission recognize the importance of broadband and cell coverage in the modern economy; and based on the survey results, so do the citizens of Shaftsbury. These surveys will help us address shortcomings in connectivity infrastructure in our town and will be incorporated into the Town Plan which is currently being rewritten by the Planning Commission.