In Act 41 of 2015, the Vermont legislature created the Division for Telecommunications and Connectivity within the Public Service Department of state government. The Division’s mission is to promote and expand access to high speed Internet to underserved locations in Vermont. The Division awards broadband development grants from the Connectivity Initiative as part of its effort to bring high speed Internet to Vermont's hardest to reach locations. The Division also manages and leases roughly 340 route miles of state-owned open access fiber optic cable located throughout Vermont.
The Connectivity Initiative is the only state program addressing broadband development. Funded by proceeds from the Vermont Universal Service Fund, Connectivity Initiative grants are awarded to Internet service providers that agree to extend service to designated areas least likely to be served through the private sector or through federal programs. The Division is expanding the program to fit with other community development initiatives. Towns are encouraged to work with an Internet service provider to identify projects that will meet private and public needs. Priority will be given to projects that match Connectivity funding with local or private funding and that establish a nexus between broadband and other community goals. In 2015, $885,944 in grant funds were awarded through the Connectivity Initiative.
Fiber Optic Cable
The Public Service Department owns or holds license to roughly 340 route miles of open access dark fiber optic cable in Vermont. The Department is not a service provider and does not sell anything beyond the use of the dark fiber. More information on leasing state-owned fiber, including pricing and rates, can be found on the Fiber Optic Cable page.