Vermont is served by eleven cable television companies, including the two largest, Comcast and Charter, which together have more than ninety-percent of the market. Approximately sixty five percent of Vermonters either have cable TV service or cable facilities running by their homes which means they could subscribe if they chose to do so. The Public Service Board maintains the Official List of Cable Companies with certificates of public good to operate in Vermont.
In Vermont, cable operators are required to support Public, Educational, & Government Access Television (PEG Access). The concept of PEG Access is that cable operators must provide channel capacity, services, facilities, and equipment as partial compensation to communities for their use of public rights-of-way (streets, highways, and other government-owned property). PEG channels are run by the community and provide the equipment, facilities, and opportunity for community members to produce local programming, from covering government and local sporting events to educational shows and entertainment programming.
Cable Service Rules and Regulations
The Public Service Board (Board) sets rules for cable TV companies through proceedings in which the Public Service Department participates. In Vermont, the Board acts as the "local franchise authority" for cable television companies, granting a certificate of public good to operate in the state that must be renewed every 11 years. Although the Board has some regulatory authority over cable, federal law limits state and local authority over cable companies, and completely preempts local franchising authorities from regulating rates and programming. Much of cable regulation is reserved to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For information about cable television regulation, please see PSB Rule 8.000.