Vermont COVID-19 Line Extension Customer Assistance Program 2021

Please note this page will be updated as new information becomes available.

The Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP), will soon be available for 2021.  In 2020, LECAP provided up to $3,000 in grants to over 250 qualifying and eligible Vermonters (over $540,000 total) who wished to extend telecommunications lines to their homes.  The program was designed to help pay for buildout of service to Vermonters lacking 25/3 Mbps broadband service and who live just beyond the reach of current cable or Internet Service Providers’ (ISP) networks. 

The 2021 LECAP will be available first to Vermonters who applied for LECAP in 2020 but could not be approved due to the Federal CARES Act spending deadline.  The program will then be opened to new applicants who demonstrate a COVID-19–related need, such as remote learning/telehealth/telework, lack a minimum of 25/3 broadband Internet service, and are “near net” for a cable video provider or other ISP. 

To apply for a LECAP grant, consumers will need a line extension estimate from a participating service provider and complete the LECAP grant application on the Department of Public Service website, when the program begins.  Approval will be based on need, cost-effectiveness, site-appropriateness, primary residency in Vermont, and other criteria.  The 2021 guidelines and qualifications will be available by May 14, 2021.  Approved grant payments from this program are made directly to a participating service provider on behalf of the consumer.  Direct consumer reimbursement grants may also be available for line extensions purchased from non-participating providers.

LECAP contributions will not exceed $3,000 per consumer, per primary Vermont residence.  The consumer is responsible for line extension costs not covered by LECAP.  Recurring monthly charges, equipment, and other charges or fees are not eligible for LECAP.  LECAP grants cannot be used to cover the service provider’s share of the line extension cost.  LECAP applications will be reviewed by the Department on a rolling basis while funds are available, or until the application deadline (to be determined).

Recommendations to get started
  • Review the information on the Department’s Cable Line Extensions webpage, including an online calculator using the cost-sharing formula in Public Utility Commission rule 8.313
  • Survey your neighbors, find out if others are interested and willing to participate in a line extension (this may involve a time commitment for service from the provider)
    • Line extensions work best (and are more affordable for everyone) when neighbors apply together
    • Designate a leader/coordinator for your neighborhood/community/street
  • Request an estimate from a participating cable provider/ISP
    • Request a line extension estimate to include all the potential subscribers
    • The estimate will have to be submitted at the same time as the application for the LECAP grant
    • Be sure to ask your cable provider/ISP if they will accept LECAP grants from the Department of Public Service.  If your provider is not participating but would like to, please ask them to contact the Department of Public Service at psd.lecap@vermont.gov
    • In 2020, the following providers participated in LECAP: Comcast, Charter, Waitsfield/Champlain Valley Telecom, MC Fiber, ECFiber and VTel (landline)
  • When the application window opens, apply online on the Department’s website (webpage will be provided)
    • Community groups should also submit a full list of participants to the Department at psd.lecap@vermont.gov before applying

Please see the LECAP FAQ (available soon) for answers to commonly asked questions.  For more information, consumers may contact the Department by calling 1-800-622-4496; sending an email to psd.consumer@vermont.gov; or via the Department’s online contact form.

Information for service providers

Cable providers/ISPs that would like more information or wish to participate in the program should send a letter of intent and questions to psd.lecap@vermont.gov.