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Cable Line Extensions

Cable Line Extension Rule 

Vermont Cable Franchise MapUnder Vermont Public Utility Commission Rule 8.313(B)(1) if a cable company holds a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) for a service territory that includes your town (see map), that company is allowed to offer service to all premises within each town it serves. If you live within a cable company's service territory, along with cable television this means you may also gain access to broadband internet and other digital services. 

The cable rule requires the costs of service buildout to be apportioned such that as the density (number of homes passed per mile) of subscribers increases the company bears a greater share of the cost, up to 100%. This can be a great opportunity to engage your neighbors in discussions and organize them to participate, subscribe to cable and lower the costs of service buildout for everyone. 

In order to participate, consumers must subscribe to at least basic cable TV service for at least two years. If there are 16 subscribers per mile, the cable company pays 100% of the buildout cost. If there are 8 subscribers per mile, the cable company pays 50%. The average cost for buildout is $30,000/mile.

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) has established a specific formula (PUC Rule 8.313(B)(1)) that is used to determine whether someone's location falls within the density requirements under which a line extension would be built without any customer cost, or contribution-in-aid-of-construction (CIAC). If your location falls within this density zone, then the cable company will build whatever lines, poles, etc., are needed to bring service to your location at no CIAC cost to you.

However, many locations do not fall within the density zone and these consumers requesting cable service must contribute toward the costs of line extension construction. If others in your neighborhood also commit to subscribe to cable television service, then the costs (CIAC) would be shared among you and your neighbors. Your town may also agree to contribute toward the costs. Contact your cable service company and ask for a preliminary estimate. The company will provide an estimate and advise you about CIAC requirements.

The Vermont Open Geodata Portal has a map of cable routes as of December 31, 2019. 

How it works

When a verified subscriber or group of verified subscribers (two-year agreement) requests an expansion of service into a project area, the cable company shall calculate the cost of the expansion, and calculate a cost per verified subscriber making the request by dividing the cost of the expansion by the number of verified subscribers participating in the request. This online calculator is helpful for estimating subscriber costs.

This calculation can be summarized by the following formula:

A = (CT  / N) * (1 – (N / (H * L)))

  • A is the dollar contribution from each new customer;
  • CT is the actual cost of the line extension;
  • N is the number of verified subscribers in the project area who will be making the contribution-in-aid-of-construction;
  • L is the length of the extension in miles;
  • H is a number designated by the cable company's tariff representing the number of verified subscribers per mile, counting all the miles proposed on the extension, above which the company will not require a contribution-in-aid-of-construction.

For more information on cable line extensions, please see PUC Rule 8.313(B)(1).

Line Extension Rule Revisions and New Estimate Form (November 1, 2022)

In 2022, the Public Utility Commission updated sections of PUC Rule 8.313.  Cable operators should now use a Standard Line Extension Estimate Form, available on the Department's website. This form incorporates the 2022 Rule changes related to expansion into unserved areas.