What’s Happening in Woodstock, VT
Woodstock Town Report 2016
ECFiber is a joint venture of 23 Vermont Towns, including Woodstock, seeking to build and operate a municipally-owned universal, open access, fiber-optic telecommunications network. The Woodstock Select Board has appointed George Sadowsky as delegate and David Brown, and Chris Miller as alternate delegates to the ECFiber Governing Board. The Governing Board adopts by-laws and operating policies and procedures, and elects an Executive Committee to handle matters that may arise between monthly meetings of the full Governing Board. Sadowsky is a member of the Executive Committee. Woodstock delegates are substantially involved in the activities of ECFiber.
Monthly Governing Board meetings are generally held at Vermont Law School, Oakes Hall, starting at 7:00 pm on the second Tuesday of every month. Our meetings are open to the public. ECFiber ended the year in adequate financial condition and with 1586 paying subscribers. Additional information about the ECFiber project and deployment updates can be found at www.ecfiber.net.
Revenue Bond issue
The VT Legislature’s creation of Communication Union Districts in 2015 provided ECFiber with the ability to enter the municipal bond market. In April 2016 ECFiber successfully floated a $10 million bond issue through MCM Capital Management, ECFiber’s investment partner. The ECFiber A portion of the 2016 proceeds was used to repurchase private debt that had been issued to start the network in its early years, and the remaining funds were earmarked to continue the build-out of the network. Assuming an adequate rate of network expansion and corresponding financial results and a reasonable bond market, our advisers have suggested that it may be possible to float a total of $40 million in municipal bonds during the next three years, providing funds for a nearly complete build-out of the originally planned network.
Because the initial bond proceeds were not sufficient to fund the construction of the entire 24-town network, ECFiber launched a competition designed to gauge the level of interest in each of its member towns. The results of the competition established 4 tiers of construction. The network in the first tier towns would be built in 2017, followed by the second tier towns in 2018.
Unfortunately, Woodstock placed near the bottom of the competition, placing it squarely in tier four. However, your Governing Board delegates have been working on ways to bring ECFiber service to parts of Woodstock sooner than that.
George Sadowsky spearheaded an investigation into the ownership of the conduit system in the downtown area of Woodstock. Comcast and FairPoint both implicitly have asserted control over the conduits that they occupy so, absent any documentation to the contrary from the town records, establishing the Village as owner was judged to be problematical. As a result ECFiber’s map of Woodstock was modified to initially exclude the area served by the conduit from the proposed construction area. Nevertheless, ECFiber believes that its high speed Internet service can reach into much of the downtown area.
ECFiber service was deployed in sections of Pomfret during 2016, including ultra-fast broadband to the Prosper Valley School, and strategically ending at the Woodstock town line. When ECFiber is ready to connect Woodstock to the network, it will be possible for the fiber-optic cable serving the school to be extended to Billings Farm, east on River Road, and west on River Street.
ECFiber will be bringing service up from West Windsor into South Woodstock by hanging fiber on Rush Meadow Road to Morgan Hill Road. Even though this is not the direct path to South Woodstock we had originally envisioned, we can reach all the planned subscribers by back-tracking down Rte. 106. As a bonus, we’ll be able to reach unplanned subscribers on East Hill Road, Morgan Hill Road, and Loop Road. We are hopeful of getting the ECFiber Internet Cafe set up at the South Woodstock Country Store early in 2017. As soon as the Cafe is operational, we will start work on extending the network into the surrounding neighborhoods east and west, and potentially north along Rte. 106 toward Woodstock Village.
To see what service is available in your area, please visit our Service Area Map for Woodstock.