Updated August 28, 2018:
On August 22, 2018, Commissioner Tierney provided notice to CoverageCo terminating the Department’s three master lease agreements with the company, and on August 23, 2018, informed the Vermont legislature. The Department has issued a request for proposals (“RFP”) seeking a new vendor to operate the network. The Legislature appropriated $900,000 in capital funding for the purpose of completing the network. The Department will seek to use this funding to attract an alternative operator, build out the network, and upgrade equipment where necessary. The Department anticipates having a vendor in place as soon as possible.
Updated July 10, 2018:
On Saturday June 28, 2018, CoverageCo submitted a preliminary plan to restore and expand its service in rural areas of Vermont, most of which has been shut down. The plan submitted by CoverageCo includes expanding service to almost 500 sites, eventually upgrading to 4G/LTE service from the current 2G service, and would bring emergency 911 service to remote areas along with basic cell service.
The Department of Public Service is currently reviewing the plan to determine if it is sufficient to provide adequate and reliable cell service.
Updated June 22, 2018:
The Public Utility Commission dismissed Vanu Coverage Co.’s petition for lack of jurisdiction over the DSL internet access services provided by Consolidated Communications. Vanu Coverage Co petitioned for an ex parte Emergency Order directing Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. (Consolidated) to immediately restore service to all of the Petitioner’s Vermont sites and sought preliminary and permanent injunctions precluding Consolidated from discontinuing service to the Petitioner’s sites absent an Order of the Commission. For more information about this decision, read the order dismissing the petition.
Updated June 14, 2018:
In recent weeks the number of active sites has declined. The Department has no confirmed information at this time to share regarding sites that are currently in operation or sites that are no longer in operation.
The Public Utility Commission (PUC) has opened a case regarding Vanu Coverage Co. It is case 18-1543-PET – Petition of Vanu Coverage Co. for an Emergency Order directing Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. To read more about this case, use the Public Utility Commission website by going to the PUC's webpage for Case and Document Search. Helpful hint: if you create an account, you’ll be able to see more information.
Updated May 2, 2018:
As of today AT&T has joined Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon Wireless as a roaming partner with CoverageCo. This means that AT&T Wireless customers can use CoverageCo's facilities to make and receive calls.
Also, the Vermont General Assembly is considering making available resources to help CoverageCo maintain service.
Updated April 24, 2018:
As of this morning there are no changes regarding sites that are currently in operation or sites that are no longer in operation. As new information comes to the Department's attention it will be listed here.
Updated April 11, 2018:
CoverageCo's network remains in service at this time. The company is under new management and is looking at ways to recover the business. The Department of Public Service is working with CoverageCo to ensure that service is maintained. The Department intends to continue working with the company to identify whether there is a reasonable and limited path to temporarily alleviate the financial pressure on CoverageCo.
Updated March 28, 2018:
- The following is a list of towns in which at least a portion of commissioned sites are no longer operational: Brighton, Canaan, Chelsea, Dummerston, Goshen, Groton, Halifax, Hancock, Jamaica, Middlebury, Morgan, Newfane, Northfield, Norton, Reading, Readsboro, Ripton, Rochester, Roxbury, Ryegate, South Ryegate, South Strafford, Strafford, Thetford, Townshend, Vershire, Warren's Gore, Whitingham, Wolcott, and Woodstock.
- The following is a list of towns in which at least a portion of commissioned sites are still in operation: Barnard, Braintree, Brighton, Chelsea, Craftsbury, Granville, Groton, Halifax, Hancock, Hartland, Readsboro, Rochester, South Ryegate, South Strafford, Stockbridge, Thetford, Townshend, Troy, Tunbridge, West Fairlee, Weston, Whitingham, and Wilmington.
Please note that some towns will fall into both lists. Also, sites still listed as operational can become not operational at any time and cellular service may no longer be available in those towns/areas.
March 13, 2018
CoverageCo Inc. officials notified the Department of Public Service that CoverageCo would likely cease commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) operations in Vermont due to financial difficulties. Retail users in CoverageCo’s coverage areas may experience a loss in service from the company. Facilities owned and maintained by other retail wireless providers will not be affected. The Department is taking steps to find an alternate vendor to run the network. In the short-term, service from CoverageCo will likely cease in the areas in which it has not already ended.
Emergency (911) service is still available through landline telephone providers and may be available through other wireless carriers such as VTel Wireless and AT&T in areas where coverage overlaps. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules about 911 availability for wireless carriers require all wireless carriers to transmit any 911 call regardless of whether the caller is a subscriber.
It is important to note that only those areas served exclusively by CoverageCo will lose service. Areas where commercial cellular service (AT&T, Consumer Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless) are currently available will not see any change in service.
Vanu CoverageCo Inc. is a company that provides small-cell wireless communications in several communities throughout Vermont. CoverageCo was under contract with the State of Vermont to deploy small-cell antennas along specific travel corridors and in several rural town centers. CoverageCo provides limited, wholesale coverage to Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. The area served by Coverage Co covers approximately 150 of Vermont’s 18,000 miles of roadways.
There are options available to Vermonters in the areas served by these CoverageCo small-cell antenna units. Consumers may contact the following companies to find alternative landline, cable VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol), or wireless options in their area (please note, not all companies provide service in all affected areas):
- Consolidated Communications
- TDS Telecom
- Vermont Telephone (VTel)
- Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom
Consumers can contact the Department with questions or concerns through the Consumer Affairs and Public Information consumer portal or by calling the Consumer Affairs hotline at 800-622-4496 (TTY: 800-734-8390). CAPI can also provide information on possible alternative providers.