The Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) is coordinating two programs funded by the federal CARES Act that aim to expand delivery of high-speed internet service (“broadband”), with particular attention to reaching locations that have needs for distance learning, telehealth, or telework.
1. The first program is for persons who live very close to locations that have cable service. The COVID-Response Line Extension Customer Assistance Program will pay up to $3,000 of each customer’s share of cable line extension costs. A total grant pool of $2 million is available. For this program, customers must request the funding by completing and submitting a form found at https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/vermont-covid-19-line-extension-customer-assistance-program. To qualify, a potential customer must first obtain a cost quotation for the line extension to the residence from their provider. Note: the cost per customer is reduced if many neighbors coordinate their individual applications as a group effort.
2. The second program relies on providers to submit proposals to deliver service to addresses that have speeds of less than 25Mbps download / 3 Mbps upload. A total grant pool of $12 million is available. The PSD will award grants to selected proposals from providers based on whether they reach high priority addresses (primarily homes of K-12 students) and whether they deliver good value for the money. The providers will be required to provide at least 25/3 service to every location for which they are requesting grant funding.
The PSD is required to inform each Communications Union District of any grants that are requested in the CUD’s member towns. CUDs are empowered to object to these requests. In the short term, the DVCUD will support extensions of service by current providers to any and all locations where it is needed. Next year the DVCUD plans to begin construction of a fiber network that delivers the high-speed internet service our residents will prefer.
If you have questions about the program after reviewing the materials, please call 800-622-4496 or email [email protected]