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Construction started to bring high-speed broadband to parts of Essex County

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CONCORD — By the end of 2021, more than 300 homes and other locations in Concord and Lunenburg will be able to sign up for high-speed fiber-optic internet service from NEK Broadband.

Construction on this project started this week.

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The current project covers some road segments on the western side of Concord, but the longest continuous section is on the eastern side along the Concord-Lunenburg border.

Extensions in west Concord and into east Waterford will be built in spring 2022 funded by a USDA Rural Business Development Grant.

Within its member towns, NEK Broadband will bring fiber broadband to addresses with electric utility service and without a comparable high-speed option.

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Construction around the region is already being planned for 2022 and the entire project is currently scheduled to be completed over the course of five years.

There are countless variables beyond local control, such as materials and construction crew availability, but the organization says it is doing everything it can to meet that time frame.

Residents in member towns can go to https://get.nekbroadband.org to pre-register for better broadband.

While pre-registering, citizens can help improve the accuracy of federal and state data about internet service currently available at their locations by filling out a brief survey.

More accurate information will then be used to further refine design and construction plans. As NEK Broadband develops future construction schedules throughout the region, they will provide ongoing updates.

The Concord-Lunenburg Pilot Project is funded with federal 2020 coronavirus emergency relief funds, awarded by the Vermont Department of Public Service.

Grant funds must be utilized and the network construction completed by December 31, 2021.

The $460,000 grant was designed to serve 104 hard-to-reach addresses.

Looking toward 2022, NEK Broadband will soon apply for over five million dollars of grant funds from the Vermont Community Broadband Board to help complete detailed design and construction plans for the next phases.

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