Towns seeking to expand broadband service to their residents and businesses have several options, including those listed below.
- Contracting for service with an existing or new provider
In this scenario, a town contracts with an existing provider or a private company to extend its network into the town. The town will not own the infrastructure or operate the network. The town is a customer of the service provided by the company.
- Create a Public-Private Partnership where the town will own the fiber
In this scenario, the public entity retains some control over the project (for example, right of inspection or audit) and retains ultimate ownership of the project. The town is creating a network and subject to the restrictions on financing detailed in 24 V.S.A. § 1913
- Join or create a Communications Union District (CUD)
A Communications Union District (CUD) allows two or more towns to join together as a municipal entity for the purpose of building communication infrastructure together.
- Cable line extensions
Unlike internet service, cable television is regulated by the state. As the holder of a Certificate of Public Good (CPG), a cable television provider has requirements placed upon it to build out service to locations within its service territory. A cost-sharing formula based on the density of subscribers per mile determines the cost per subscriber (if any). Towns are encouraged to participate in this cost-sharing on behalf of residents. Although requirements for cable providers originally involved building out cable television service, cable companies now also provide high-speed internet and other services to subscribers.