Northwest CUD: Who We Are
- The Northwest Communications Union District (NWCUD) is a government organization made up of volunteer members from 12 Northwest Vermont municipalities.
- NWCUD’s mission is to “leverage partnerships and procure funding to connect Northwestern Vermont via Open Access Fiber to ensure opportunity for all homes and businesses in our region.”
- The open access fiber model works similar to how roads work. A public entity builds the fiber, and then private companies are able to compete to provide services on that fiber.
- Northwest CUD’s goal is to serve every home and business in its region, with a focus on serving those without good service first.
- NWCUD is in process of completing a feasibility study and business plan.
The Grant: USDA Rural Business Development Grant
- NWCUD is applying for a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (USDA RBDG) to fund planning work that will support the eventual development and implementation of a high-speed open access broadband network.
- The grant will fund a consultant to provide business planning and administrative assistance.
- This will build on NWCUD’s previous work on a broadband feasibility study and business plan.
USDA Definition of Small Business
- Under 50 employees and has less than $1 million projected gross revenue
- All businesses must be owned by at least 51% US citizens
- There is no requirement for the business to have any type of formal structure
- Informal sole-proprietor businesses meet this definition
- Both for-profit and private not-for-profit organizations meet this definition
Letters of Commitment: What NWCUD is Looking For
- Describe your business and how having reliable, affordable broadband would help
- State how many jobs you think you could create or save if you had access to broadband
- State if those jobs are full or part-time
- Things to consider
- Jobs saved can be your own (e.g. if you are a sole-proprietor)
- Broadband access can open up new online markets
- Broadband access can allow you to hire remote employees, reducing your overhead costs
- Use business letter head. Sign and date. (digital signature is fine!)